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Thrive and 10 other organisations have joined forces to highlight the power of therapeutic gardening to change lives.

The Reading Gardening for Health and Wellbeing Network was launched last month as a collaboration of horticultural therapy and community gardens in the Greater Reading area.

The aim is to share information, skills and experience so members can help each other and ultimately the people who attend their gardening programmes.

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A launch event at the Ridgeline Trust attracted members of the public and health professionals interested in discovering more about the services of network members.

Jan Broady, Thrive Senior Horticultural Therapist, said, `This new network is not only a great opportunity to support each other but also to showcase to health professionals how therapeutic horticulture and community gardens can contribute to health and wellbeing.’

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In addition to Thrive, the network consists of:

  • Autangel Allotment Group
  • Five-a-Day Market Garden
  • Food4Families
  • Friendly Gardeners Group
  • Green Health Thames Valley
  • Lavender Place Community Garden
  • Museum of English Rural Life
  • Nature Nurture
  • Ridgeline Trust
  • The Conservation Volunteers
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Christina Hughes Nind, coordinator of the network, said, `It seems that there is new research out every week showing that gardening is good for our bodies and our minds and makes us feel better.

`The groups which are members of the network make gardening work for people with a range of needs, such as physical and mental health challenges, learning disabilities, autism, and for people who just want to be part of a community which enjoys nature.’

In 2018-19, more than 1,300 people attended 6,500 gardening sessions at organisations in the network, supported by trained horticulturalists and horticultural therapists and more than 16,000 hours of time given by hundreds of volunteers.

You can see more about the network on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RGfHWN/