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Ecotherapy, Gardening and Wellbeing

Nature’s Benefits

Spending time in nature can be beneficial for supporting your wellbeing. For example, it can help improve your mood and reduce anger/stress. Taking part in activities outside such as gardening, allows your mind to focus and relax.  

In addition, gentle exercise can help support your physical health, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions. 

Community allotments also enable spaces to connect with others, helping reduce isolation. Feedback from Dorset Mind’s ‘Eco in Mind’ support programme delivered at several sites across the county shows the amazing impact of gardening/ecotherapy in providing support for participants:  

I am really struggling to leave the house at the moment but when I get to sessions they really help, and I feel it is a safe place to come – February 2023 

“I was in tears before attending and left feeling happy. Focusing on nature-based art has helped lift my mood” – November 2022 

“Since attending sessions, I feel a greater sense of being able to cope with my week. After the sessions, I feel uplifted and grounded. I’m learning and it is really helping me each week” – March 2022 

Community allotments in Dorset

Dorset Mind are expanding their Eco in Mind ecotherapy programme to reach more people that need their mental health support. Local allotments will host charity groups to support Dorset residents. People are encouraged to self-refer or can be referred by a health professional too, for more info please see dorsetmind.uk  

Ferndown allotment

The sessions are held on Mondays at the Growing Compassionate Communities allotment. Ferndown sessions are for carers, friends, and family of anyone affected by dementia.  

A separate session is available for paramedics, NHS, and blue light workers

Dorchester allotment

Dorchester continues to host sessions for young people attending a local secondary school with a mixed adult group later in the morning on a Monday.  

On a Thursday, Dorchester sessions include a mixed adults art and plant session and a session supporting young people from a different school. There is a new third session for paramedics, NHS, and blue lights staff.  

Shillingstone

Eco in Mind are offering a new session in Shillingstone, at the Yellow Bus Project supporting adults with their mental wellbeing to give to the local food bank. These sessions will run on a Friday morning.  

North Dorset & Shaftesbury

Dorset Mind have announced new sites in Shaftesbury, North Dorset to support patients at a local medical centre in conjunction with Blackmore Vale Partnership and Shaftesbury in Bloom with sessions to also run on Fridays. 

Weymouth allotment

At the time of print, Eco in Mind are in the process of employing a new practitioner to manage this site, please check the Dorset Mind website to keep up to date for these sessions. 

Gardening in May

There is no time like the present. In the full swing of spring, there is an abundance of fruit and veg to enjoy this May including… 

  • Broccoli 
  • Carrot 
  • Potatoes 
  • Green beans 
  • Cherries 
  • Plums 
  • Strawberries   

If you don’t have access to a garden/allotment space, you can still enjoy this season’s produce. Baking and cooking are also mindful activities that support your wellbeing.  

Rhubarb is still going strong, so why not bake a heart-warming strawberry and rhubarb crumble? You could even connect with nature by going to a strawberry-picking farm in Dorset.  

There are plenty of ways to connect with nature in Dorset, we’re lucky to enjoy such a rich variety of environments, from our countryside, woodland areas and of course the beaches in south Dorset

Find out more about Dorset Mind’s Eco in Mind programme here or email [email protected] for questions/queries related to volunteering or accessing this service.  

Thank you, for the feature Blackmore Vale!

Blackmore Vale Magazine is a weekly publication featuring news, views and events, local food, arts, the environment and much more across Dorset and beyond.

Dorset Mind is a monthly contributor to the magazine, talking about all things mental health and wellbeing!

theblackmorevale.co.uk

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Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.

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