Executive Summary

The growing link between health and the environment is clearly evident, in both policy and practice; and a professional community is rapidly developing which can convert this link into practical processes which achieve real health improvements.

Whether this inter-dependency is demonstrated in community allotments, school gardens, local food production, or as with the Totnes Gardening for Health project, the role of gardening for health and well-being is firmly established. Such provision has an essential place in the overall provision of health care for South Devon communities, where healthier lifestyles are a key priority.

The Gardening for Health project at The Lamb Garden in Totnes has grown out of the community need for underused outdoor green spaces to be developed effectively and productively.

In its first year, as a pilot, the Gardening for Health project has directly reached 69 people in the community via facilitated sessions on site and a complementary programme of outdoor workshops and activities. In the local community generally, a network of support has grown to over two hundred people. We need to build on this success.

The challenge for this (second) year is to change from a support base rooted in local volunteer networks, to a fully functioning referral-based system, accommodating patient referrals from various regional health providers and partners. Such a service can become a key element in delivering regional health and well-being targets. Funding from the NHS will enable this extended pilot to take place.

The successful development of this service will be an important element in delivering a range of benefits covering social, economic, therapeutic, environmental and educational needs. We believe that in 2012 this service has the potential to be a milestone in the local delivery of health improvements.

Contents [to read a particular section, click on the title in red to go straight to it]

Executive Summary

Section 2.1.a Background

             2.1.b Introduction

Section 3. The Lamb Pilot
           Project Management
           Activities 3
           Photographs of The Lamb Garden

Section 4. Evaluation
           Participants 6 Case Study .
           Popular weekly outdoor Tai Chi classes in Leechwell Garden.

Section 5. Evaluation Questionnaire
          Table 1. Resource access.
          Table 2. Age Range of participants.
          Table 3. Health and Well Being evaluation scores.

Section 6. Other outcomes
          Case Study 2. Significant Mental Health Benefits through Gardening for Health           
          Case Study 3. Social, Community and Educational benefits are available           Environmental
          Food Production
          Produce. Food Produce

Section 7. Issues
          Referrals from Leatside Surgery
          Access, Leechwell Garden
          Data Collection / Evaluation Issues

Section 8. The Future

Section 9. Summary


Further Information

           Appendix 1. Gardening For Health Summer/Autumn Programme 2011            Appendix 2. Participant Questionnaire

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Section 2.1.a Background


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Section 2.1.b Introduction


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Section 3. The Lamb Pilot



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Section 4. Evaluation



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Section Evaluation Questionnaire



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Section: Other Outcomes

Recognisable achievements are identified in the physical environment, social and community and economic viability, [A. Rothery 2011]; thus meeting our initial objectives – as outlined by the 2009 Feasibility Study undertaken by Sue Holmes.

Social – anecdotally participants reported a range of social benefits such as there being an opportunity for young families to get out into the fresh air and, being active either during the week or at the weekend. It offers a chance to meet new and other local people/residents, and for children to find peers and older, garden ‘buddies’ acting as good role models, as revealed in case study two.(2)
The project can be a stepping stone, in between a lack of employment to gaining further education or work; a chance to learn about gardening and may be also put in to practice existing skills, e.g.: Forest School skills; enjoy outdoor space, especially if where a participant is without their own garden or space at home to do so.

(2) All case study names of participants have been changed for the purpose of this evaluation report.




Transition Town Totnes (TTT) regularly bring groups of visitors to the site, including students from the language school, as part of a cultural exchange day out.
Coverage of the project has been made by local newspapers, the local radio station and by BBC Radio Devon. The project also has a regular feature article in the monthly, Totnes [business] Directory. A follow up film is being produced by a local film-maker. Use of social network platforms, has helped to ensure that the project maintains visibility and further interest with an online media audience, including on Twitter, Facebook; combined this adds 70 followers of the project online.

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Section:The Future



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Section: Summary

The Lamb is a pilot project, and as such, was expected to identify problems to be resolved during the next stage of the project. It has, so far, managed to meet all its original objectives; and there is a strong potential for new targets to be met, when and as they arise.

There are good signs of increased user activity. Inter-linkages with local health and support groups have emerged. The role of the garden - as a public good and, site of information and demonstration – has been enthusiastically embraced by the local community in general. The positive knock-on effects already taking place will require additional capacity development and there are further opportunities potentially available to support educational, social & community and health goals. The links to mental, physical and community health are already being identified by the role of green spaces in improving health. On-going evaluation of the Gardening for Health Project will allow for issues arising to be addressed and responded to.

Gaps in provision, which were related to management changes at the Health centre, are recoverable. Implementing the next stage sites will take the project to potential users and consumers of produce. Planning work, thus, is underway to take forward the Gardening for Health programme in coordination with three community sectors, identified as elderly/retired, school children, health patients in period of recovery. A greater focus towards these sectors could incorporate and meet societies growing needs for activity and exercise for the benefit of community health.

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Appendix 1. Gardening For Health Summer & Autumn Programme 2011


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Appendix 2 – Participant Questionnaire



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