Volunteers needed for gardening scheme in care homes

PUBLISHED: 09:06 01 February 2018

A Growing Support volunteer helping a participant.

A Growing Support volunteer helping a participant.

Archant

Organisers behind an award-winning scheme which enables older people to stay active and enjoy gardening in North Somerset are looking for more volunteers.

Growing Support launched in Bristol three years ago to reduce social isolation and encourage people to exercise and spend time outdoors.

The organisation runs gardening clubs in care homes, with the help of trained volunteers, where older people work together to grow food.

Activities provide sensory stimulation, exercise, increased social interaction and a sense of purpose, which have proven to work particularly well with dementia patients.

The organisation currently runs fortnightly sessions in Haven Lodge in Portishead and Tilsley House and Ravenswood in Weston, but it is looking for new volunteers to help out so more people can benefit from the initiative.

Growing Support’s director, Dale Cranshaw, said: “Volunteers are really crucial to Growing Support’s approach. They bring the community into care homes, in which residents can be socially isolated and lonely, provide invaluable social contact and one-to-one support to take part in our nature-based activities.

“We would not have as big an impact in what we do if we didn’t have volunteers there to support us.

“Research shows our approach can improve the health and quality of life of everyone involved.”

Participants demonstrate improvements in communication and engagement, reduced stress and agitation, and increased sense of belonging, feeling valued and of achievement.

Volunteers support gardeners with specific tasks which they might otherwise find difficult. They also help to create a strong social atmosphere and encourage reminiscing and story-telling.

Volunteers receive an initial induction session and training, on-the-job training and support when working with service users. They do not need to be gardening experts but have basic knowledge and skills , as well as being compassionate, respectful and able to relate to vulnerable people.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme, can email Sarah Mountford at volunteers@growingsupport.co.uk or visit www.growingsupport.co.uk

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