Location: The Walled Garden at Mells
What do you do? We offer garden and nature-based activities to improve physical and mental well-being and provide opportunities for people to socialise and connect in the fresh air. We are open to anyone experiencing loneliness and isolation, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities. We base our work on the transformative effects of therapeutic horticulture. The people who benefit from our projects are very broad, from young adults through to the elderly, and those with mental, behavioural and physical challenges. Our reach is very much local and rural, we are embedded within our community and work with our surrounding villages.
When do you meet?
Monday - 10-1pm: Emotional Wellbeing though Gardening / 2.00- 4.30pm Wild Memories
Wednesday - 10-12pm: Volunteer morning
Friday - 10-12.00: Grow with Us
Visit their What's on page for latest information.
Who can join? Our catchment area is Mells, Frome, Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Coleford, Vobster, Shepton Mallet, Buckland Dinham, Great Elm.
We want to reach out to those that are isolated and want to connect with others through gardening. Monday mornings are focused more on mental health, Friday is lighter work and more suited to people with physical restrictions. Monday afternoon is focused on dementia and memory loss.
Is there wheelchair access? Some parts of the garden are wheelchair accessible but the stony paths make it hard work on a thin wheeled chair. We do not have a disabled accessible toilet at the moment but one is in the planning
Contact details: email@example.com
Growing Grants showcase - Dr Samantha Evans, director, reports:
Growing Grant: The grant provided additional staffing to develop and run the increased number of Cultivating Community horticulture programmes and develop opportunities to collaborate, grow the capacity of the nursery and make the space more accessible.
The funding allowed us to add on extra 'Garden and Connect' sessions, specifically aimed at older people and those with mobility issues. We ran the sessions for 21 weeks until Christmas and hope to restart them again in Spring as the weather gets better.
Average attendance per session: 5. No. of unique participants supported: 7. No. of hours of programming: 52.5.
Case study: One participant was a professional woman until a number of physical challenges left her in pain, and isolated from her previous life. The weekly gardening and connect sessions provide her with some structure to her week and an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the project.
To start with she was quite anxious and needed time to settle in every time she came but as the sessions progressed, she was more comfortable and opened up more in the social elements of the session. Above all just the opportunity to sit in nature and absorb the sights, sounds and smell of the garden invigorated her.
Challenges and opportunities: Transport to the garden is a barrier for some, the project supported the cost of community cars for a number of participants. There is a need to advertise more widely to reach people in rural locations and areas that are not well serviced by support.
*See the funding page for more details (updated 25/3/2022)
5 Rectory Cottages,