Trellis supports therapeutic gardening projects across Scotland

A therapeutic gardening scheme for people with dementia was launched at HMP Dumfries last August. An innovative joint venture between the Scottish Prison Service and Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, it was also supported by Trellis.
A therapeutic gardening scheme for people with dementia was launched at HMP Dumfries last August. An innovative joint venture between the Scottish Prison Service and Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, it was also supported by Trellis.

A Scottish charity which uses gardening to help people across Scotland will celebrate its 13th birthday in September.

Trellis promotes the therapeutic benefits of gardening by supporting more than 460 projects across the country.

A work in progress...demo videos currently being filmed for YouTube audiences will help Trellis branch out even further.

A work in progress...demo videos currently being filmed for YouTube audiences will help Trellis branch out even further.

This year alone, it will support more than 11,000 disabled, disadvantaged and marginalised people.

They include veterans returning from war zones who benefit from being involved in horticulture projects, people working in prison gardens, older people in care homes who get an uplift from time spent in the garden and younger, disadvantaged people who can develop confidence and employment skills through horticulture.

And thanks to a recent £5000 grant from Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, it will be able to branch out to help even more people.

For Trellis plans to use the grant to provide inspirational demonstration sessions to help care home staff and residents begin growing plants, as well as advisory visits to help groups make the most of their site.

As the small staff team can’t always visit projects, they are also currently producing short videos for online tutorials, to help people get started with simple garden activities.

Work has already started with some filming completed and video editing underway.

Fiona Thackeray, head of operations and development, hopes it will inspire even more projects.

She said: “We have five part time members of staff and nine freelancers who do site visits across the country.

“That means we are limited to the number of site visits we can make.

“Therefore, we’re hoping the videos will help establish even more therapeutic gardening projects.

“They’ll be easy to follow tutorials for staff in the likes of nursing homes and hospitals, who may not be experienced horticulturists but want to help patients benefit from gardening.

“We already have a wealth of information resources, available free on our website.

“However, YouTube is really where it’s at for anyone looking for how-to videos and tutorials.

“So we’re delighted that some of the funding will help us reach that audience.”

Founded in 2006 to promote the benefits of gardening to help people help themselves, Trellis is Scotland’s national charity for therapeutic gardening.

It supports community projects the length and breadth of the country.

Fiona said: “We really want to raise our profile and that of the many projects we support all over Scotland.

“All too often, garden projects are isolated and run on meagre resources but Trellis helps bring them together, both at regular networking sessions and at our annual conference.

“The impacts gardening projects can and do have often go unrecognised.

“That’s why our support services are needed.”

In the past 12 months, Trellis has hosted nine networking events – enabling 255 people to share knowledge, skills and good practice.

It has also held taster sessions for 166 people, encouraging care home, hospital staff and carers to start or resume gardening.

Its training and workshop sessions brought new ideas, skills, fun, confidence and learning to 641 people and its events programme reached more than 1400 people in Scotland.

In addition, its online information service – which provides free resouces for all – answered 200 queries and its e-bulletin reached more than 2000 people.

With nearly 9000 Twitter followers and more than 800 likes on Facebook, Fiona is keen for more people to find out about Trellis’s work.

She said: “Gardening is a great tool to get people more active and talking.

“A large part of our network is care homes and hospitals, which use gardening to aid recovery or to help with a condition.

“But we also work with several prisons, such as Dumfries where the inmates created a garden for a local dementia group.

“It’s all about bringing some joy into people’s daily routines and improving their health and well-being.

“There’s lots of evidence that people’s blood pressure goes down when they are gardening, and feelings of anxiety, fear, anger and pain are also reduced.

“That’s a lot of benefits for very little investment.

“The groups we support also help people build confidence and skills to improve their job prospects.

“And all of them help people forge new friendships, helping to stop social isolation.”

Donations from members and the public, along with grants from charitable trusts and foundations and some government funding, means Trellis can offer most of its services free of charge.

It is also on hand to help community groups looking to source funding.

Fiona added: “We couldn’t do all that we do without the support of the public and our members – a quarter of whom are paying members.

“As a result, we can help community projects source funding for projects they want to start up, as well as training volunteers or helping them design the layout of a garden.”

A £5000 helping hand from Scotland’s garden owners

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) supported Trellis as its guest charity this year, with an award of £5000.

Founded in 1931, SGS is a charity that raises money for more than 250 charities across Scotland by helping people open their gardens to the public.

Each year a bursary of up to £5000 is provided to a guest beneficiary to help provide funding for garden-related projects concerning the physical, mental and emotional well-being of adults or children in Scotland.

This year SGS has awarded the bursary to Trellis, the charity which improves lives through gardening.

Fiona Thackeray, Trellis head of operations, said: “We are delighted to be receiving these new funds from Scotland’s Garden Scheme.

“It seems most appropriate when the work SGS does in helping members to open up their private gardens for the public to enjoy, that our principles and activities which emphasise the therapeutic effects of gardening are at the forefront.

“We’re the place to come in Scotland for know-how about therapeutic gardening, the art of using gardening to help people take care of their health and well-being.

“We support a network of more than 460 therapeutic gardening projects in Scotland so they can share skills, good practice and get connected.”

Terill Dobson, SGS director, said “It’s really exciting for us to be able to support the great work that Trellis is doing.

“The health and well-being benefits of gardening and garden-related activities can never be over-estimated.” Trellis runs training workshops, an information service and visits projects to offer help and advice.

It also promotes research and development in therapeutic gardening.

To find out more visit www.trellisscotland.org.uk.