Now spring has sprung, it is apt that the most recent to benefit is The Growing Space. Based at The Balsam Centre in Wincanton, the charity organises gardening activities for both adults and children.
Somerset Community Foundation and The Growing Space
The Growing Space began in 2001 as a social and therapeutic horticulture charity. This is a term used to describe the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health. The benefits will strike a chord with most people, but as Programmes Manager at SCF, says, “it’s interesting to see the ways that local organisations are turning to gardening to achieve positive changes in their communities.”
Nick Truman is the Community Horticultural Worker at the Balsam Centre. He currently working with 40 adults and 30 children through The Growing Space. The activities Nick employs are based on producing cut flowers, fruit and vegetables for the Balsam Centre’s café. Moreover, there’s the general maintenance of the gardens to enhance the enjoyment of the whole community.
The charity has partnerships with local mental health services, adult social care teams, GP’s, schools, local authorities and community-based support groups. Nick says, “as well as the more obvious benefits gained from gardening, there are many additional welfare aspects. People can use the garden as a safe and secure place to develop their ability to mix socially and make friends. Additionally, they will learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.”
After presenting a cheque for £2,000, Myakka Director Simon said, “this is such an inspiring charity. It builds on a very basic human need to be outside engaging with nature but takes it one step further. We are delighted to be able to provide support to help The Growing Space put their good work into practice.”