Grow for Life is a social and therapeutic gardening charity, working throughout Bath and towns and villages across North East Somerset.
Their vision is to see a world where people experiencing low confidence, anxiety, depression or isolation are restored to live life to the full.
Their purpose is to nurture people so that they flourish. This is done by welcoming people into the safe space of a garden where they are inspired, build skills, create connections and are provided a pathway to work.
Please read how they are using our funds below:
Grow For Life is very grateful for the £1500 received from The Beer Harris Memorial Trust on 16th July 2023, for the provision of social and therapeutic horticulture sessions.
The funds were used to part fund the provision of our Thursday sessions within our Walled Garden at Newton St Loe, between August and October 2023. These sessions were led by our Gardener Support Manager, Eleanor Carr, and assisted by regular volunteers for the charity. Weekly, Wayne McMaster (the Projects
Manager) and Eleanor would assess the jobs to be done in the Walled Garden, and create a session plan for the therapeutic group.
The gardeners did a variety of activities, including preparing beds, potting on, planting out, weeding, pruning, harvesting and composting. The group also enjoyed spending some time in the shade of our Orchard, and were involved in the preparation for our Apple Pressing Day in October which was attended by 200 people who enjoyed glorious sunshine and picking and pressing apples creating 80L of juice – which was pasteurised and we are all enjoying!
There was a core group of 8 gardeners who attended these sessions. All 8 gardeners completed a Flourish review which showed that against our target outcome that 80% of our gardeners experience improved mental
health and self-confidence, 96% of this cohort of gardeners achieved this.
Recent repeat Flourish questionnaires at the end of the session block revealed some very moving replies:
“I started at such a bad place, I was just back at work but hating being there, but I’ve been able to re-evaluate it and rethink how quickly I can expect things to change . . . I’m starting to enjoy things again.”
“I feel safe here, that’s for sure. . . . I discovered I haven’t lost my childlike excitement for learning new things and that’s really important.”
“It’s all the little chats, not even the garden talk – it’s all nice.”
“It’s definitely helping my mental health, I wouldn’t be without it!”
This progress is remarkable in a relatively short space of time, and reflects the high quality of support and therapy that we are able to provide.
One of the gardeners is now transitioning into becoming a core volunteer with Grow For Life, taking on more responsibility for supporting new gardeners referred to us in subsequent session blocks. We really value his input and can see the potential for his growth within our team in supporting new referrals to Grow For Life.
In addition to the improvement in mental well-being, another of the gardeners has reported back that on a recent health check at his GP’s, his cholesterol levels were much lower, which he attributed to eating more vegetables – we strongly encourage our gardeners to take home the produce they have grown in the Walled Garden, and he has clearly been eating his! We are also joining up with a local charity, “Foodcycle” who provide meals to local families, and they are using our surplus vegetables to support others in need.
We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank you for your grant funding our work.