A small team of patient volunteers have been transforming the garden at a Birmingham GP’s surgery – so much so it’s being entered into Acock’s Green in Bloom! The garden has gone from overgrown and neglected, to cultivated, with raised vegetable beds, planters, a lot less weeds, and an impressive arch paid for with funds kindly donated by Asda. The team – lead by one of the Active Wellbeing Society’s Grow and Connect coordinators – meet once a week at the Victoria Road surgery, as part of the Green Social Prescribing scheme originally set up by one of the link workers there.
The transformation of the garden has been beneficial to patients and staff, and has made it into a great space in which to spend time. The surgery says working on it has benefitted the patients involved, and being outside and taking part in mindful activities are both found to be beneficial to mental health. This year the hard work is really paying off and the garden’s being included on the official Acock’s Green in Bloom judging route this July.
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. 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 is designed to encourage people to engage in nature-based interventions. It aims to improve physical and mental health, overcome the barriers people may face accessing green spaces and reduce inequalities. Green Social Prescribing 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.