Gar­den­ing for the soul

Gardeners' World - - We Love November -

Churches are open­ing up their gar­dens for ther­a­peu­tic use in an at­tempt to com­bat the rise in men­tal health prob­lems. With green spa­ces at a pre­mium – but a church­yard in ev­ery neigh­bour­hood – Chris­tian or­gan­i­sa­tions and churches of all de­nom­i­na­tions are launch­ing schemes that con­nect peo­ple with na­ture, and also with each other. “While com­mu­nity groups are of­ten small in num­ber, 10,000 church­yards and gar­dens can pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant net­work and move­ment in gar­den­ing for health and well-be­ing,” ex­plained Rt Rev. James New­come, who is the Church of Eng­land’s Lead Bishop for Health and So­cial Care. Health­care pro­fes­sion­als are in­creas­ingly recog­nis­ing the role that gar­den­ing can have in healing mind, body and soul, with ev­i­dence mount­ing that it helps lower stress, lone­li­ness and even the risk of de­men­tia. Gar­den schemes, such as the one run by St Paul’s Church in Cam­den, Lon­don, give those with­out gar­dens the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit, too. Speak­ing at the re­cent Green Health Awards held at Lam­beth Palace, RHS Di­rec­tor of Science and Col­lec­tion, Alis­tair Grif­fiths, high­lighted how im­por­tant gar­den­ing is for phys­i­cal health and sense of well­be­ing. He de­scribes gar­den­ing as “pro­vid­ing hope and a sense of won­der.” The Awards recog­nised gar­den­ing groups for their achieve­ments in com­mu­nity projects that cre­ated gar­dens in the most de­prived parts of the coun­try and on derelict church land. They were cel­e­brated for pro­vid­ing ac­cess to hor­ti­cul­ture for ev­ery­one. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit con­ser­va­tion foun­da­tion.co.uk/green-health

Mind, body and soul can all ben­e­fit from gar­den­ing as a com­mu­nity

Fa­ther James El­son opens up his church­yard for gar­den­ing at St Paul’s Church, Lon­don

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