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As well as being a Thrive Ambassador, Annabelle Padwick is the founder of Life at No.27, a social enterprise which provides early stage, fun gardening and wellbeing-based therapy for children and adults struggling with mental ill health, isolation, low confidence and/or low self-esteem. The aim of the organisation is to work in partnership with Thrive, together supporting as many people as possible across the UK. Here Annabelle takes up the story of how her work is developing.

`School programmes are being delivered with incredible results and the first Life at No.27 adult therapy site is nearly up and running in Northamptonshire; the take up from GPs, mental health charities, youth organisations and NHS leaders has been fantastic.

`The sites and bespoke therapies are in high demand especially from those struggling and needing an outlet without a long waiting time. This is positive but also heart-breaking news.

`The bespoke allotments and school-based therapies not only enable client gardeners to grow their own food and health products, but they give back ownership, control and responsibility to those who crucially need it.

It’s great news to hear that more people are starting to understand the wonderful and life-changing benefits of gardening, growing your own produce, having a safe place and creating conversations

Life at No.27's Annabelle Padwick
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Schools are a key focus of Annabelle's work

The profit-for-purpose organisation held a working party last month at the adult therapy site and have another one in the calendar, inviting the local community to come along to the site, mow the grass, weed the future client beds and get it ready for the calmer winter months. All voluntarily but with plenty of tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits and a few little goodies to take away.

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Community engagement is helping prepare sites for therapeutic gardening

`It’s great news to hear that more people are starting to understand the wonderful and life-changing benefits of gardening, growing your own produce, having a safe place and creating conversations.

`As an alternative to traditional prescribed therapies or as another option alongside medicines, government are starting to understand that social prescribing of social and therapeutic horticulture could work wonders.

`We still have a way to go but for the first time we are starting to see a deeper understanding for personalised care and positive progress from the leaders in healthcare. 2020 is set to be the year that gardening really comes to the forefront of alternative therapies.'

Find out more at www.lifeatno27.com or visit the Facebook page to see when the working party events are taking place.