The Walworth Garden in south London is offering Growing to Grow, an eight-week programme of sessions.
It is aimed at residents facing isolation or emotional difficulties and provides ‘gently-paced’ gardening activities.
All sessions are free and offer opportunities to socially connect with other local people and to develop new skills in a safe and welcoming environment.
People of all abilities are welcome to join and, under the guidance of an STH practitioner, work on the charity’s community gardens, allotment and plant centre.
It seemed that if there was a good thing to come out of this pandemic, it was that people were increasingly unashamed to confess they were isolated and lonely.Oli Haden
Walworth Gardens CEO Oil Haden said: “Growing to Grow was created as a response to the loneliness and isolation we were increasingly hearing about once lockdown and the pandemic began to bite.
‘It seemed that if there was a good thing to come out of this pandemic, it was that people were increasingly unashamed to confess they were isolated and lonely. We wanted to encourage this apparent reduction in stigma and use our expertise in horticulture to be helpful.
‘As an organisation, many of our employees have declared that gardening has saved them (myself included) and while there seems to be support available for those with significant needs, those with mild to moderate depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation were not catered for as well.
‘We believe that the act of 'doing', especially with others and succeeding in simple tasks can serve to boost confidence and enable people to share their thoughts and feelings.’
As well as Growing to Grow, Walworth Gardens has recently started a nine-week programme to help people re-enter the jobs market by building confidence through horticulture.
Growback is staged one day a week and includes help with interview techniques and CV writing.