Ambient’s gardening project helps improve people’s mental health

Our Bromley-based volunteer gardening and horticulture project is helping to change lives and improve mental well-being for local people with lived experience of mental ill-health.


Branching Out welcomes volunteers into a relaxed, informal and supportive work environment, and as part of Growing For Wellbeing Week 2021, we are talking about how Ambient’s gardening project changes lives.

Set up by social enterprise, Life at No.27, Growing For Wellbeing Week is a celebration of the magic that growing your own produce can do for your wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental ill health each year, and there is strong evidence highlighting the health benefits of gardening, including improved confidence, communication, concentration and ultimately self-belief.

At Branching Out, participants learn new skills in horticulture by completing commissioned gardening and maintenance services. The project runs three mornings a week and works across various Ambient services and private gardens locally. People interested in gardening maintenance services can call-the team for a competitive quote.

Trevor Thomas, who leads the project started volunteering aged 49 after having to give up his previous employment due to a back injury. He has been in the post for 8 years, and has seen how it has helped hundreds of people to build confidence and boost self-esteem.

Trevor, actively encourages people to join and says:
“Working in nature has a hugely positive impact on mental health, it puts you in the present moment and is a reminder of the beauty of the world. We don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on our volunteers who have lived experience of mental health so there is plenty of flexibility in what we do. This means that we’re always looking for new volunteers who can get involved and help when they feel able.

Most of our services and gardening projects are local. We are looking to the future and plan on building raised beds across the mental health services we look after. We aim to support people at the services to fill these beds with vegetables and herbs. They can water and care for the herbs when the Branching Out team isn’t there and maybe even cook with them- this really will bring positive benefits to peoples’ wellbeing.”

Find out more about Ambient’s gardening project, Branching Out.


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