6 reasons why getting involved in Grow Wild could enhance your wellbeing
We don’t need an expert to tell us that looking out on something like this is life-enhancing! Let's see what other things can benefit our wellbeing...
1. Body wise
Forget the treadmill and the cross-trainer. You may not get a complimentary fluffy towel and your own locker, but getting stuck into green tasks like digging, weeding and mowing is on a par physically-speaking with visiting a conventional gym. It’s also mightily cheaper. As well as keeping you trim and your heart healthy, experts also agree that exercise is a proven mood-lifter, which brings us neatly on to…
2. Mood lift
Feeling on edge? Frazzled at work? Overloaded by technology? Studies show that being amongst green, even in cities, is a guaranteed route to zen. It’s no wonder green-fingered types are the happiest workers around. Or, that on a more serious level, green spaces are proven to reduce antisocial behaviour and incidence of crime in urban areas and that ecotherapy is recommended by mental health experts.
3. People power
Grow Wild is all about people – and bringing communities together to do something they can feel immensely proud of. It follows that strong communities are healthy communities because building bonds, crossing generations and economic and demographic barriers, can stave off feelings of loneliness.
On an individual level, socialising and contributing to group action not only makes people feel more confident about themselves but also has a positive effect on physical wellbeing.
4. Super skills
Pitching in with a community project can also boost self-esteem by helping Grow Wilders hone and learn new skills. Up and down and around the UK, our projects are giving people the chance not only to learn about UK native wild flowers but develop life-enduring skills including design, DIY, team management and communication. We also run countless projects with schools and educational establishments that are directly linked to learning programmes.
5. Healthy choices
Learning how to nurture and grow plants has an influence on your wider lifestyle patterns – studies show that green-fingered folk are more likely to have healthier diets and to eat more fruit and veg than their peers. Many of our funded projects around the UK, including Castle Manor Academy’s orchard restoration also have an edible angle.
6. Age defying
According to scientists, the combined brilliance of all these factors above mean that getting hands-on with nature can add years to your life.
Find out more
If you’re interested in finding out exactly what good Grow Wild is doing, check out our UK project map and keep tabs on this blog.
GROW WILDERS IN FOCUS
We spoke to two Grow Wilders about their involvement with funded (and very life-enhancing) projects.
Tom is a volunteer at the Saffron Resource Centre, which received funding from Grow Wild to help create a native sensory garden. It was designed in collaboration with people with disabilities and additional needs, including Tom who has a visual impairment.
‘I first came here through the volunteer bureau in Leicester; all the day care facilities I used to go had closed because of cuts and I was looking for something sociable and activity-based. I didn’t have any green skills at the time. Obviously now I do!
‘I’ve helped with everything from nurturing the seedlings and weeding patches to planning the actual sensory garden. We touched and smelled all sorts of plants to find the most stimulating – and help build the trail. Amongst other things, there are Rowan trees, Sweet woodruff and Chamomile. There are edibles to taste and Braille, Makaton and Moon [a type of Braille] indicators.
‘Simply being in the sensory garden is a great thing. Because I have a visual impairment the smells are interesting. I like it when you knock into something and catch the scent. But there’s so much more to be being involved here – socialising, working with young people, learning new skills. It’s a relaxing and friendly place. You only have to spend 10 minutes here to feel like you’re not part of the city any more. There’s nothing to worry about here. You can switch off.’
Ben Sadler is project lead at Gorbals Healthy Living Network, which works in communities in the south east of Glasgow that face health and economic challenges.
‘We manage four green spaces with the aim of revamping and improving them after neglect. Our Grow Wild funding ties in perfectly with our focus on biodiversity and has helped us create a thriving wild flower and wildlife garden in Richmond Park, in the Oatlands area of Glasgow.
‘The mere fact we’re improving where people live and clearing away fly-tipping is a huge boost for the community’s wellbeing. We encourage people dealing with social and health challenges to get volunteer – for example, older people, those living with addiction issues or people who are seeking asylum. However, irrespective of wider health, everyone benefits. There are massive gains for all include socialising, exercise, learning new things, skill-building – and people can go on and prosper with what they learn; even if it’s as simple as creating their own planter.’