Innovation Fund Feedback from our friends at Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden was awarded the Innovation Fund to design and run a community garden space that can use volunteers from the DAWS service and teach local residents the therapeutic benefits of gardening. The project commenced on the 19th November 2018.
Nine clients from Turning Point came to Chelsea Physic Garden for a pilot programme of gardening and horticultural therapy, Help Us Grow, for one afternoon a week for eight weeks, from April-June.
The grant from the Innovation Fund helped Chelsea Physic Garden build a new Education Garden with raised beds where participants could do hands-on gardening. The fund also covered travel costs for local residents to get to and fro from the venue.
The raised beds were built by another community partner, Putting Down Roots, providing structured training for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The pilot was very successful and achieved good outcomes for the participants which include:
Participants gave us very positive feedback about the benefits they had experienced:
“I loved getting my hands dirty, planting seeds, watching things grow from nothing. … I never missed a class. I always knew if I came I would leave happy. There is something magical about the garden that raises my spirits.”
“It really opened my eyes.”
“I breathe better, my mind is happier.”
“Gave me focus, helped me feel more connected, more positive.”
“Meet people, enjoy the afternoon outdoors. My mood is better and I find [it] easier interacting with people.”
The second round of the programme ran from September to November, with a group of seven clients, which gain we received very positive feedback. The programme has built strong relationships and improved confidence, skills and knowledge in the 16 people that attended.
The third programme will take place in the New Year [7th March – 24th April).
Chelsea Physic Garden fed back that the project was successful in the following areas:
- Reducing anxiety.
- Developing confidence and self-esteem.
- Developing skills of communication and co-operation.
- Developing a sense of responsibility for the self, others in the community and the environment.