Promoting Community Health & Wellbeing
Doctors at the Red and Green Practice in Hythe and Blackfield are prescribing a different type of treatment for their patients – the Healthy Haven garden!
After receiving a kind donation to their charity, the Friends of Red and Green Practice decided that it should be used for the benefit of the patients and the idea of the Healthy Haven garden began. A garden designed to be accessible by patients both young and old. With hardstanding suitable for mobility aids and raised beds that can be reached from a wheelchair, the garden will also include sensory areas and fruit trees creating a calming environment.
“The area behind the GP practice in Hythe was just a lawn and not utilised and we thought it would be a great place to increase social activity” says Dr Chris Cole, Senior Partner of Red and Green Practice. “There is good evidence that ‘green care’ in the form of social and therapeutic horticulture can enhance mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and stress through increased contact with nature; there are social benefits of group activity by helping people contribute something positive in their community.”
Working with full support from the Patient Participation Group, the practice chose a local company to carry out building the garden, Fairweather’s Landscapes in Beaulieu.
Doctors and the Health & Wellbeing team are able to prescribe sessions to patients to help them improve their health and wellbeing, so that participants will be supported to make positive changes to their lifestyle.
About the garden and its activities
Work started in the garden in the 3rd week of May 2019. Unfortunately the lockdown due to the Covid pandemic meant that not as much could be accomplished as was hoped. However the team of volunteers were able to maintain progress and the gardeners have been able to keep the garden going. A number of activities have taken place, including strawberry cream teas for the past 2 years and in lockdown people were glad to get outside and enjoy the garden. Now we are in 2023 the garden is aiming to be wildlife friendly and as part of the fund raising it has been possible to sell vegetables, flowers and plants to the public and the money goes back into the garden.
The local community have donated plants, topsoil, manure, tools and we have purchased and kitted out our Summerhouse. This year there are plans to hold strawberry cream teas, and an open day. The garden is making a real difference to people's lives especially mentally and physically and a bereavement group holds meetings in the garden.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"