16 September 2016

Service users get green fingered with Growing Support

Growing SupportOur Dementia Wellbeing Service has commissioned Growing Support, an award-winning social enterprise, to run a pilot which engages communities to help people with dementia be more physically and socially active by spending more time in green spaces.

The pilot supports people with dementia and their families or carers to access their neighbourhoods through community gardening, which increases their social networks, tackles isolation and counteracts the negative health effects of inactivity. The project also contributes to challenging the stigma associated with dementia, by linking local community gardens to people with the condition.

Over the last few months, Growing Support has worked with a number of community gardens across Bristol and supported them to become more dementia-friendly. As part of this work the community gardens ran 'taster visits' for people with dementia and their carers. During one taster visit at Hartcliffe Health and Environment Action Group Community Allotment, a small group of people with dementia helped harvest fruit from the orchard and stake up tomatoes in the polytunnels.

With support from the Dementia Wellbeing Service, Growing Support has also provided bespoke training to care homes in Bristol. This training has included how to engage residents with dementia in their outdoor spaces, as well as offering taster gardening activity sessions for residents. There has been good feedback from staff attending and a positive impact observed for residents who took part in taster gardening activity sessions. Each home has received a 'starter pack' of tools and materials to get them started and to help them continue to support their residents to access and contribute to their garden all year-round.

Growing Support have produced an interactive map of 'green volunteering' opportunities, such as community gardening, which includes useful information about accessibility, transport, toilets and how and when people can volunteer.

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