A Magheramorne company is to host a new pilot project aimed at using gardening as tool to promote mental and emotional wellbeing.
The initiative, known as ‘Wellbeing with Nature’, will see participants take part in an eight-week course run by Blossoms at Larne Lough.
Gardening will be used as a form of therapy for people with mental health issues including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The course will be delivered by qualified Horticultural therapist Liz Hanvey at the purpose-built therapy gardens on Shore Road, Magheramorne.
Funded by the Public Health Agency, the scheme will run over two years and involve over 200 people from across Belfast.
Liz said: “We are all very excited about this two-year pilot project, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
“It is such a fantastic opportunity to offer nature-based therapy to Belfast residents, and also to see the real impact working with horticulture and gardening can have on mental and emotional wellbeing.”
Séamus Mullen, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement in Belfast with the PHA, added: “Gardening can be a very effective tool in reducing stress and improving health and wellbeing.
“Through gardening, people can build new friendships and improve their self-esteem, which can lead to better mental health.”
Those who take part in the weekly sessions will learn the importance of planning and looking to the future when gardening. They will also learn about using gardening to de-stress, growing crops and healthier eating.
Participants on the courses are referred by mental health services.
Blossoms at Larne Lough recently picked up a Green Apple Environment Award as part of a national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies.
Liz was also shortlisted in the recent Larne Business Awards in the Young Business Person of the Year category.