New gardening club launches With the success of our gardens over the last few years, we've been inspired to set up a gardening group! Packed with like minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who all want to improve their green thumbs, we're excited to see what projects they'll be working on. We caught up with Emily Bowler, Therapies Manager, and Kevin, our Head Gardener, for a quick discussion about what benefits a gardening group will have for Wellbeing patients and family members. 'Gardening is an activity that many people enjoy. We so often hear from our patients that it is an activity that they feel they can’t do anymore because of their symptoms or it may be that they have downsized and now live in a flat with no garden. We want to show people that anyone can be involved in gardening whatever their ability, it is just a question of doing things a little bit differently. We have been running our Saturday social group for some time now and have been overwhelmed by how many bereaved people continue to attend for support and to meet people. We wanted to offer a different type of activity for this group of people, a more practical activity for those that want it. Studies have shown that horticultural therapy can alleviate stress, increase feelings of Wellbeing and promote participation in social life and re-employment. Also HT has been shown to improve participants physical and mental health and their coping ability with respect to pain. By taking care of plants, patients have something productive to do and something to care about again. The benefits of working in a garden can be divided into 4 dimensions: The beauty of nature with seasonal changes and a multitude of life forms fascinates, relaxes and puts worries in life into perspective The dependence on nature and the cultivation of it, supporting the ecosystems of the planet The nurturing of plants and attendance to their growth, which creates a feeling of affinity with nature Achieving with other people through shared experiences such as cultivation and harvesting We can work on peoples rehabilitative goals too such as mobility, balance, hand dexterity, speech, concentration - the list goes on! It offers a distraction from symptoms or worries, the chance to meet others and share experiences. Increasing feelings of self worth by contributing to the hospice gardens, selling produce to raise funds can also be productive and lovely ways to engage and it's a way of continuing to gain support from the hospice even though formal support may have stopped. Building the confidence of former patients as a stepping stone to joining activities outside of the hospice environment has been a success and we're looking for the gardening group to do the same. We have specifically started it on a Saturday as weekends can be a lonely time for some and also to capture people who perhaps can’t visit Wellbeing during the week. The course is open for anyone! Even those with significant physical disabilities (e.g.) wheelchair bound can participate in gardening. Any age, gender, disability are welcome. Patient, hospice carers or those bereaved through the hospice - we can't wait to see you there!' Contact us to find out more information about joining the gardening group!