Outdoor Activities Benefit Mental Health

Research by the mental health charity 'MIND' shows that gardening can help people through a specific period of difficulty in their lives.  Gardening can help you get back on top of things and restore balance when it feels like your life is veering out of control.  Gardening can help you feel happier, more confident and healthier.  It is also a great way of meeting people and socialising.

The Growing Space is the charity that organises gardening activities for both adults and children at The Balsam Centre in Wincanton, Somerset. The Balsam Centre is a healthy living centre that provides lots of different activities and services that help all members of the local community remain physically and mentally healthy, happy and content.

Our horticulture workers organise mood–boosting activities that enable beneficial contact with nature in the ornamental and productive gardens surrounding the centre. They ensure that gardening activities meet the needs of everyone involved.  These activities also match the NHS 'five steps to wellbeing'.

People who have been involved in gardening here have reported that the benefits included:

  • Relief from the stresses and strains in other areas of their life
  • Increased confidence and self-worth
  • New strategies for recognising the triggers of anxiety or depression
  • Gaining a sense of pride through achievement
  • Making new, long-lasting friendships
  • Discovering they do have the ability to work cooperatively
  • Developing daily and weekly routines that helped with emotional stability
  • Rediscovering confident learning
  • Being able chat to a mental health worker while gardening

Everyone enjoys the relaxing and communal way we garden, sharing the ups and downs of growing vegetables, fruit and flowers – and sharing the produce!!

How can we help you begin overcoming your difficulties?

Do you want to refer your client to our services?

Do you want to volunteer to help us deliver services?

Read More on outdoor therapies

Touch Wood - A "Men in Sheds" Project

The Balsam Centre is starting a new project offering men the opportunity to get involved in craft and DIY - read more

What do we do?

  • We grow vegetables and fruit for The Balsam Centre’s kitchens

  • Advice & guidance for new gardeners and growers

  • Activities to boost confidence and self esteem for those experiencing emotional difficulties, anxiety or depression

  • Food Growing for schools and pre-schools

  • Learning disability support & training

  • Activity tailored for mobility and physical problems

  • Training for individuals & organisations

  • Confidence boosting for returning to work

Where do we do it?

  • Working vegetable garden

  • Heated propagation house

  • 13m x 5m glasshouse

  • Shady borders and lawns

  • Herbaceous borders

  • New orchard

  • Children's areas

  • Herb gardens

  • Ponds and wildlife

  • Cut flower beds

  • Resources room

  • Tea room