Gardening improves the lives of local people during COVID-19

Active Cheshire, the lead for physical activity and sport in Cheshire and Warrington, have partnered with a flower nursery called Mockridge Nurseries, Age UK and a local Social Care team to distribute flowers into the homes of older people and people suffering from mental health challenges.

Local people at Making Space Housing on David Street and The Old Vicarage will be given plants to share gardening responsibilities with those who have disabilities and mental health challenges. In addition, flowers are going to a few families who are particularly isolated.

The flower supply industry has been hit hard as a result of COVID-19, with many garden centres closed, flowers will go to waste and providers will suffer financial difficulties. Alongside this, recent research has shown the negative impact of social isolation and lack of purpose, which is likely to have been amplified as a result of the current situation. Therefore, Active Cheshire saw an opportunity.

Discussions with the local social care team highlighted individual stories of people who have become even more isolated than before, as well has having much less opportunity to be active, both of which have impacted significantly on mental health. This will give them the opportunity to be active in the safety of their gardens, whilst having a sense of purpose (caring for and growing the flowers), subsequently improving mental health. Both the local social care team and Age UK are looking forward to giving the flowers to some of the most vulnerable people across Cheshire and seeing the happiness it brings.

Active Cheshire’s mission is to embed physical activity in all aspects of everyday life. Whilst the pandemic pushes organisations to adapt, this is an example of how creative people are to help others. Not to mention, it is National Gardening Week!

CEO of Active Cheshire, Anne Boyd, commented “We are so pleased to see residents enjoy planting these flowers, gardening is beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. Several studies have found that the benefits of reconnecting with nature can have a positive impact on mental health.

Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness.”

Find out how you can get active from home on www.activecheshire.org/playwaze-activity-finder/