Gardening on Prescription

Every day across the UK, GP’s are advocating exercise to reduce the risk of hearth problems, Osteporosis, reduce weight and many others, so why not advise patients to consider gardening?

Gardening could be prescribed more widely by doctors as a result of a new study being funded by the Lottery.

A UK charity, Thrive has been awarded £322,526 as part of the Community Fund’s Research grants programm  to look at the benefits of horticulture for improving the quality of life for older and disabled people.

Thrive was formed in 1978 as the Society for Horticultural Therapy to champion the benefits of gardening, carry out research and offer training and practical solutions so that anyone with a disability can take part in, benefit from and enjoy gardening.

This award will enable us, in partnership with Loughborough University, to improve an existing database of therapeutic horticulture projects, then to use in-depth case studies and interview groups to measure how people will benefit. It will also give us the chance to spread the message that gardening helps people grow.”

Thrive has a national training and resource centre in Reading and garden projects in London, Reading and Coventry. The charity currently has a directory of 1600 projects nationwide, for which it provides services such as training courses, information and advice, resources and newsletters.

Chair of the Community Fund, Diana Brittan, said: “These grants show how different groups of people can work together to respond to the challenges of an ageing population. We are gazing into a crystal ball and looking at what the future offers older people.

“Established approaches to research do not currently allow time for looking ahead but our Research grants programme helps voluntary organisations, by working in partnership with researchers, to explore innovative approaches to the issues of today.

“We also want to encourage them to think strategically about issues of tomorrow. The eight awards we have made today are a first step in helping charities to look ahead and make the future better.

“In the past year the Community Fund has established itself as a visionary and exciting pioneer of social research in modern Britain. By doing so we hope to relieve poverty and disadvantage and provide innovative solutions to social problems.” The Community Fund supports gardening on prescription.

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