Is Horticultural / Eco Therapy a root to happiness?
A Manchester-based social enterprise ‘Sow the City’ has been delivering a new horticultural and environmental therapy programme for young people in Rochdale. Sessions have taken place at the ‘Around the Corner’ Café in Rochdale and Fairfield General Hospital in Bury.
The project is delivered in partnership with #Thrive, an emotional health and wellbeing support service for children and young people, up to 19 years, with a GP in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. It also supports young people in Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s inpatient child and adolescent mental health services.
#Thrive is run in partnership with Pennine Care, Youth in Mind and Link4Life, co-designed with young people and funded by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group.
The service supports children and young people who may be feeling worried, angry or upset, stressed about school or exams, feeling low and not enjoying things in general, or if they are experiencing bullying or relationship worries.
The service has been extending and expanding the ways in which it can support children and young people. This includes art, circus skills and horticulture, with a growing body of research about the benefits of horticultural therapy.
Sow the City has provided a wide variety of workshops from growing and cooking aubergines, to building a wormery and creating natural art. Participants and their families have reported improvements in wellbeing from attending sessions. The project has harnessed the therapeutic benefits of the natural environment as well as showing people how to grow their own healthy free food, strengthening community bonds, and providing useful life skills. There have also been improvements to café and hospital sites with staff commenting on improvements to their working environment.