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    Harvesting the health benefits of gardening thanks to £40,000 grant

    Aspire Ryde in the Isle of Wight, a thriving hub with a range of projects, received funding from the People’s Health Trust to set up a two-year project, based around communityand the health benefits of gardening.

    Growing Great Things, designed to improve the health and mental well-being of participants, aims to have five groups, each meeting once a week to enjoy working and relaxing in the garden. Activities include sowing seeds, taking cuttings, garden maintenance, planning what to grow and meeting people.

    “Those taking part have the opportunity to chat, get to know each other and share their gardening experiences,” said newly appointed project coordinator, Alice Thorp.

    “They will find there is nothing more rewarding than harvesting fruit and vegetables they have nurtured from seed, then eating them as part of a delicious meal with friends.”

    She said gardening had long been recognised as a therapeutic activity and carrying it out in the context of a friendly, supportive group — people having fun while contributing to the community — would result in improved mental and physical health.

    “I know how being in the garden, watching how things have grown each day and having contact with nature, has helped me through difficult times.

    “Growing Great Things is an amazing opportunity to share this with others and I have no doubt I will witness participants thriving in our community gardens.”

    Alice can be reached at Aspire Ryde on 716020 or [email protected]

    Photo credit: Jason Swaine

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