Stoke Newington “ecotherapy”

Roots and Boots project uses planting to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety

The uplifting powers of gardening were felt this week in Stoke Newington, for an “ecotherapy” project.

Around 300 trees donated by the charity Woodland Trust were planted in Clissold Community Garden in Clissold Road, for the Roots and Boots horticultural therapy programme - run by local charity and social landlord Peter Bedford and community-building charity Groundwork London.

Peter Bedford works alongside people who have faced long term exclusion from society through homelessness, mental health problems or learning difficulties.

“We’re about reconnecting people with nature and each other,” said project co-ordinator Paul Woodmin.

“Planning and creating a productive garden is a tremendously uplifting experience, and the therapeutic benefits of just being in a garden are well known,” he added.

The project was funded by Big Lottery Fund (BIG) through an Ecominds grant distributed the mental health charity Mind.

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Mind’s research has shown “ecotherapy” can help people with mental health problems to increase their self-esteem and confidence, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

Fruit from the trees will be used to make jams, jellies and chutneys.