Gardening for the community

Dr Stockton and Thompson GP Practice – Manchester

The problem

The GP practice has seen an increase in loneliness and obesity and both are becoming a large problem within the UK. The practice wanted to implement a project with the aim of increasing mental and physical well-being for all age groups, and decided to run a gardening project.

The Bright Idea

All of the practice team came in unpaid on a Saturday to turn the plot of land into a garden for the practice. Patients were involved in the planning of this and on the day over 30 volunteers turned up to help.

The functioning garden can be used by the practice to educate patients about:

  • where our food comes from, how to grow fruit and vegetables and how to make healthy meals from the produce (including meals for one and larger families)
  • the importance of physical health and well-being and how to safely get vitamin D
  • the importance of preventing illness with lifestyle interventions rather than curing
  • making the most of the produce that we have, helping patients with financial stresses
  • how to help the environment by composting and how to do it
  • the ecosystem's need for worms, bees and other garden insects

Gardening for the community at ManchesterThe garden also aims to bring the local community together and decrease loneliness, particularly for older patients. The garden uses recyclable materials, such as pallets and old tyres in place of expensive planters, which saves the practice money and reduces our carbon footprint.

The development of the garden was a chance for the practice to put something back into the community and get involved with patients outside of the normal running of the practice. The staff have been very proactive and excited about being involved in a community project. The long-term aim would be to see a reduction in obesity, vitamin deficiencies, depression and secondary care visit occurrences among patients and savings in the medicines management budget.

The impact

Patients

The patients are able to socialise and learn new skills and about a healthy lifestyle.

Workforce

The staff were very motivated by the engagement of the patients and are also enjoying looking out on the garden and the maintenance. This has increased morale at the practice. 

Practice

The garden looks great and make the building look brighter and a more welcoming place to be.

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