Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that mental ill-health is a growing concern.
In addition to this, a recent article in the Guardian by George Monbiot, loneliness kills just as many people as smoking 30 cigs a day.
Over the last few years, cut backs have hit services hard and the people most affected are those who are most vulnerable due to ill health or poverty.
However, some of the causes of loneliness, depression and anxiety can be alleviated by spending time outdoors interacting with nature and with other people, at minimal cost. Community gardens provide a fantastic free, accessible resource for people of all ages and abilities to do this.
Frendsbury garden in Brockley offers two weekly gardening clubs for wellbeing: Dig It on a Wednesday afternoon at 2pm and We Dig It 2 on a Monday afternoon at 1.30pm. Both clubs finish at 4pm.
They are open to all adults in the area, especially those who are under-employed, socially isolated and recovering from mental ill-health. It is also open to anyone who wishes to learn organic and wildlife-friendly gardening.
The clubs are welcoming, inclusive, friendly spaces at no cost and can greatly enhance the lives of those attending (or even just passing through!). They are a good example of people can get together and support each other, and improve health and happiness, in an environmentally-friendly, low impact way.
What do we do at ‘Dig It’ and ‘We Dig It 2’?
We have three session leaders running the clubs who have complementary skills and experience in: Horticulture, Ecology, Permaculture, advice work, teaching, health care and mental well-being.
Apart from growing food, we spend some time observing nature and the changes that have taken place in the garden. We also maintain the garden to a user-friendly standard and conserve wildlife habitats (we have a pond and insect hotel and wildflower patch). We also practice a bit of Permaculture and are creating a small food forest there. Other activities include composting, sowing seeds, watering, harvesting as well as gentle physical exercise, small workshops on aspects of gardening and nature. At the end of the afternoon we share snacks and everyone is invited to simply relax and socialise.
Please get in touch if you need more information on how to access the clubs by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting /ringing Ruth on 07766 596600, or by the Facebook page FriendsOfFrendsburyGardens.
Spring is here, so come on down!