A weekend of gardens, wellbeing & creativity : Open Gardens 2016

At 6pm this evening the kitchen will be filled with neighbours planing the final details for our Loughborough NGS Open Gardens and Secret Craft Fair 2016. This year I’ve also been talking to Loughborough University, well – the folk leading two projects about planting and growing on campus, the award winning orchard project Fruit Routes and the Student AllotmentWe’re joining forces and holding events at the same time, to create a weekend all about gardens, growing, wellbeing and creativity.

The Secret Craft Fair at 134 Herrick Road will feature, among a host of great creatives, Lisa Pidgeon and volunteers from Little Bird SOS. This is a non-profit Social Enterprise that positively engages with people through creative making activities, to provide life enrichment, education, socialisation, creative distraction and personal growth. The Little Bird SOS team will be bringing lots of hand made eco friendly craft goodies, and running drop-in crafting activities.

Dr Rose Deakin of The Crop Club will be in The Shed at the bottom of the garden, their sustainable starter packs help people grow their own food at home, encourage people to get outdoors and connect with their local community.

Why the emphasis on gardens, creativity and wellbeing in 2016?

It is a well documented fact that gardens and creativity have beneficial effect on our minds and bodies. To the extent that the arts are now offered by GP’s as ‘Social Prescribing’ for people with experiencing mental health problems and social isolation.

A new report commissioned by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) from The King’s Fund, ‘Gardens and Health – Implications for policy and practice‘, has just been launched, citing the powerful role gardens play and putting the case that they should also be used more systematically in our health and social care system.

Gardens and Health will be the main theme at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and will feature in a number of the show gardens.

So, yes – I can hear a chorus of gardeners and creative folk alike saying ‘we knew about the benefits already’ – but it’s always great when policy makers start to take notice, and moreover – fingers crossed, put resources into such activities.

You can read more about our weekend of events taking place in Loughborough on the 11th & 12th June,  here. NGS OPEN GARDEN DAYS & SECRET CRAFT FAIR 2016