An Essex-based mental health charity aiming to make therapeutic gardening accessible across the UK with valuable training.

For the past two decades Trust Links, who operate the Growing Together therapeutic gardening project across Essex, has seen the positive impacts of therapeutic gardening on individuals with mental health difficulties. From nurturing plants and developing new skills, to forming social connections and spending time in nature, the benefits of gardening for wellbeing are plentiful.

The programme had its beginnings in a church and course participants have started gardening therapy projects in their own church.

Staff and members at Growing Together Thundersley

The charity was founded in 2000 and uses its gardens, recovery-focused courses, and youth projects to support communities with their wellbeing. Its flagship project, Growing Together, has even been used in University studies focused on the therapeutic power of gardening.

One member of the Growing Together Project said: “Without Growing Together’s help and the support, I hate to say it but I probably wouldn’t be alive. My keyworker and the staff always give me a chance and it’s like family. It’s because of them that I can turn it around, they are positive and helpful even when I’m not fair to them.”

Now the charity is ready to share its knowledge and expertise with organisations and individuals, in a bid to increase the reach and benefit of therapeutic gardening throughout the UK and beyond. Trust Link’s ‘Let’s Grow Together’ training course, which is a blend of online sessions and in-person opportunities, is accepting applicants until 27 February.

At work in the poly tunnel

The course offers insight into the key topics involved in setting up a therapeutic gardening project, from designing a garden and securing funding to recruiting volunteers and monitoring impact.

Christina Ravinet, the Growing Together Deputy Manager said: “This is an invaluable opportunity to learn from the experts at Trust Links what it takes to start a therapeutic gardening project and how to make it a success. With a focus on interactive and supportive sessions, participants will not only learn from us but also from one another as they go on this journey together.”

Let’s Grow Together is returning after a very successful first year. Gwynn Bondy, who joined the course from her home in Detroit in the USA, said “This course has encouraged and inspired my new therapeutic gardening adventure. I’ve made some sincere connections amongst those in the class who continue to encourage, support, and influence one another to grow and develop. I’m beyond grateful for this course and my connection with Trust Links!”

For further details on the course, and to apply for a spot, individuals and organisations are encouraged to visit: