Health, well-being and social inclusion of vulnerable adults

This was the focus of the first large-scale research of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, funded by the BIG Lottery from 2002-2005 and carried out in partnership with the Loughborough University.

The project was prompted by the fact that, although there was (and continues to be) growing interest among health and social and therapeutic value of horticulture, there was little evidence that demonstrates the range of outcomes for vulnerable groups. It addresses the gap in knowledge and presents findings of the 'Growing Together’ study, the first detailed study of horticulture and gardening projects across the UK.

Drawing on the results of a survey of over 800 projects, and in-depth case studies and interviews with vulnerable adults who use horticulture and gardening as a form of therapy, the report:

  • Describes and discusses the benefits to vulnerable adults of attending gardening and horticulture projects;
  • Provides demographic information about the distribution of projects in the UK and participation in these projects by vulnerable adults;
  • Analyses the processes involved in promoting and achieving health and well-being outcomes using gardening, horticulture and related activities;
  • Makes policy and practice recommendations in respect of how best to promote social inclusion using social and therapeutic horticulture.

The final report Health, Well-being and Social Inclusion: Therapeutic horticulture in the UK, by Joe Sempik et al is available from Thrive Publications. The report is aimed at policy makers, professionals, researchers and students in the fields of health and social care and occupational and horticultural therapy, as well as anyone interested in addressing the needs of vulnerable and socially excluded adults.
This report complements a practice guide, Growing together: a practice guide to promoting social inclusion through gardening and horticulture, which is also available from Thrive Publications.