Gold for Acock’s Green in Bloom!

Acocks’s Green has received a gold award from the Britain in Bloom campaign, and a garden that we’ve been working on played a part! The site, at the Victoria Road surgery was overgrown and neglected, but our staff, alongside a team of patient volunteers have cultivated it, it now has raised vegetable beds, planters, a lot less weeds, and an impressive arch paid for with funds kindly donated by Asda..

The group meet once a week with a member of our Grow and Connect team as part of a Green Social Prescribing scheme originally set up by one of the link workers there. We’re so pleased to have been a part of the judging route for Acock’s Green in Bloom, and to see the hard work recognised. Aside from awards, the transformation of the garden has been beneficial to patients and staff, and it’s now a great space to spend time in.

The grow and connect team in the Garden at Victoria Road surgery

The surgery says the positive benefits are far greater than anything available on prescription – with being outside and taking part in mindful activities being particularly beneficial to mental health. There are many benefits. It’s not just that the garden looks much better now, it’s providing a space for patients and staff at the busy surgery, time in nature for our team, and even a harvest of fruit and vegetables over the last few months

Here’s what the group have had to say: “It gets me to interact with other people instead of isolating myself like I was before, and I get to learn how to do some gardening which I’ve really enjoyed.” “I like the social aspect of the group. Due to my ex-addiction, I isolated myself from people and anything creative. I’ve never really been any good at gardening. I like the fact that I can learn more and am looking forward to growing produce and beautiful flowers.”  “I enjoy the physical side of it – I need the exercise. I walk here and if the weather is good, I’ll be gardening outside. I like the social aspect. Everyone here is lovely.”

Green Social Prescribing encourages people to engage in nature-based interventions to improve their physical and mental health, overcome the barriers they may face accessing green spaces and reduces inequalities. It has a key role to play in prevention and self-care, promoting nature, connection and time spent in green and blue spaces. We hope this project will inspire other link workers to do the same at other GP practices across the city, and even the country.

Alice Rosenthal
Author: Alice Rosenthal