The Covid pandemic has triggered a crisis in mental health.
- More than half of adults (60%) said their mental health has got worse during lockdown.
- One in four people of all ages who tried to access mental health support during lockdown were not able to do so.
- 82% of adults with a pre-existing mental health condition said that feeling lonely made their mental health worse and 30% are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
(surveys by Mind and the Mental Health Foundation)
Growing People is a small charity that provides an established, successful horticultural therapy programme to help people with severe mental health conditions reclaim the quality of their lives.
Our Gardeners, the people who come to Growing People for help, tell us about the pain of hopelessness and despair, of feeling anxious, overwhelmed and worthless. They often dread the future and feel that it’s pointless to dream of a better life. For them, hope is not a luxury; it is a fundamental element of good mental health. Not only does hope make life more enjoyable, hope provides resilience against anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Our job is to bring hope back to life, we urgently need your help to reach more people.
Just £30 will pay for a half-day horticultural therapy session to help a Gardener (client) on the road to recovery.
Growing People - Much more than just another gardening project!
Horticultural Therapy is a structured approach bringing together the joy of growing living things, time spent in a green environment and community support. Based on individuals’ mental and physical health issues, activities are carefully designed by our experienced therapists to meet needs.
Gardeners attend Growing People for half-day group sessions, they do not need to have any previous experience of gardening, just a willingness to participate.
- “I gain a lot from growing veg, I love to see the plants coming through and to see them growing”.
- “I look forward to coming here all week. It gives me a routine, when often everyday seems the same”.
Growing People Gardeners
Activities all have therapeutic aims, so for example:
- weeding brings a connection with the earth, the opportunity to quiet a racing mind and the satisfaction of a job well done.
- working with others helps people living in isolation “re-find their voice”, share interests and experience the mutual support which may be lacking in their everyday life.
- planting a seed, taking a cutting, or creating a whole new garden engages Gardeners in planning and encourages positivity as they look forward to nature’s miracle of rebirth.
- The disappointment of a rabbit chewed lettuce creates the opportunity to experience recovery from setbacks and difficulties.
- harvesting crops grown personally is empowering and creates feelings of satisfaction and joy.
- Sharing and exchanging produce with other Gardeners and those in need, restores feelings of personal value.
Vegetables grown by Gardeners on route to the local foodbank to help others during the pandemic.
- “I believe that during the pandemic, Growing People literally saved my wife’s life”.
- “Growing People is the only place where I feel safe”.
A Growing People gardener and family member
Founded in 2006, Growing People is justly proud of the quality of the therapeutic work we provide. Therapy sessions are led by Lisa and Jenni, our horticultural therapists, and supported by a hard-working team of trained volunteers. Lisa and Jenni both hold the Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture from Coventry University and are experts in adapting gardening tasks safely to bring the most benefit to our Gardeners. They share a love of gardening and its healing properties and have experience of working in a wide range of community and healthcare settings, from prisons to care farms.
As a professional organisation we believe we are accountable to our community and our funders, we regularly monitor the quality of our work. When we ask Gardeners about our results
- 95% tell us that they have improved their communication skills and got to know and support other people and feel less isolated.
- 80% have improved their physical fitness, stamina and self-esteem.
- 75% have found a new sense of meaning, motivation and enjoy a new feeling of belonging.
Throughout the pandemic at Growing People, we have worked incredibly hard, adapted our services and have remained open for the entire year. We know from feedback that the support we have provided has been vital to our Gardeners, often being the only constant in these changing and lonely times.
Growing People now has a vital role to play in helping people to recover from anxiety and uncertainty, restore routines and sleep patterns, renew confidence to leave the home, deal with grief, long Covid and the effects of long periods of isolation. Together with our Gardeners and Volunteers, we can help to rebuild a stronger, more resilient local community.
How You Can Help
We currently provide two hundred horticultural therapy sessions every year, each for up to seven gardens, that’s over four thousand hours of therapy. Whilst we already have some funding in place, it is not enough to see us through the year. Without additional financial support, our project will close, and this vital work will end.
£10,000 will pay for
- The staff time and expertise to continue to provide therapy for some of the most excluded members of our community.
- Provide a lifeline to more people suffering from severe mental health issues.
- Cover essential running costs to keep people safe and the gardens thriving.
Please Donate Now and pass this message on to your friends, family and community.
- Just £30 could bring hope back into someone’s life by paying for a half-day session of horticultural therapy.
- £20 could pay for a pair of gardening gloves and four packets of seeds to launch a new Gardener.
- £50 could pay for a new gardening spade, fork and trowel for some gardening exercise.
Thank you for your support.