Green therapy grows with funding boost

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A cash boost for a Magheramorne-based charity will allow it to reach out to people with depression through horticultural therapy.

Learning to Grow has just received a £9,720 grant from the Santander Foundation to help adults with mental health problems.

The cash will cover the salary of a qualified horticultural therapist to provide specialist sessions in the charity’s purpose-built training and therapy gardens.

Learning To Grow provides social and therapeutic horticulture to all different types of people.

This includes interested individuals of all ages, community groups and gardening clubs, mental health organisations, schools, and active elderly groups.

Social and therapeutic horticulture is the name given to the process of using gardening, and working with horticulture to help individuals develop and increase the wellbeing of their body and mind.

The charity believes that everyone can benefit from spending time working closely with nature.

Learning to Grow feels that gardening and working with plants has a very positive impact on the mind, body and soul.

It can bring communities together, teaches young people how to grow their own food and offers older people the chance to recapture the joy they used to enjoy while gardening in their younger years.

In communities where green space is limited, Learning to Grow can help facilitate areas for community growing and offer courses on container growing for urban gardening.

Liz Hanvey, horticultural therapist at Learning to Grow, said: “We are very grateful to the Santander Foundation for its kind donation and for supporting us to make a difference in people’s lives in Northern Ireland.

“This new programme will specifically focus on people suffering with depression and anxiety.”

Alan Eagle, foundation manager at Santander Foundation, said: “The Santander Foundation makes hundreds of donations every year to good causes throughout the UK to support disadvantaged people through education and training projects.

“We are pleased that this grant will enable people with mental health issues to benefit from the therapy in this peaceful garden setting.”

The Santander Foundation provides grants to UK charities that help disadvantaged people in areas where Santander has a presence.

people in communities where Santander has a significant presence.