Growing
Health

Food growing for
health and wellbeing

Garden Partners

London Borough of Wandsworth

Growing Health Case ...
Key client groups
Older people aged 60+

Summary of services
Garden Partners was the first scheme in the UK to
link older ...
Service aims and delivery

Aims and objectives

The Garden Partners scheme is
an innovative way of delivering a
number of ...
Outcomes / key achievements
Whilst the scheme reports on a quarterly basis
to the commissioners this is mostly in relation...
Key opportunities

Supporting documents

Benefits: For health and social care commissioners,
the project has the potential...
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Food Growing for Health and Wellbeing

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Case Studies - Food Growing for Health and Wellbeing, Older People and Volunteers
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For more information, Please see websites below:
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Organic Edible Schoolyards & Gardening with Children
http://scribd.com/doc/239851214
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Double Food Production from your School Garden with Organic Tech
http://scribd.com/doc/239851079
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Free School Gardening Art Posters
http://scribd.com/doc/239851159`
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Companion Planting Increases Food Production from School Gardens
http://scribd.com/doc/239851159
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Healthy Foods Dramatically Improves Student Academic Success
http://scribd.com/doc/239851348
`
City Chickens for your Organic School Garden
http://scribd.com/doc/239850440
`
Simple Square Foot Gardening for Schools - Teacher Guide
http://scribd.com/doc/239851110

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Food Growing for Health and Wellbeing

  1. 1. Growing Health Food growing for health and wellbeing Garden Partners London Borough of Wandsworth Growing Health Case Study Health area: Older people and volunteers This series of Growing Health case studies provide examples of projects which use food growing in the community to provide health benefit.
  2. 2. Key client groups Older people aged 60+ Summary of services Garden Partners was the first scheme in the UK to link older people who need help with their garden and volunteer gardeners who would like more growing space to garden share and grow together. The project combines befriending, practical support and gardening as a therapy. Older garden owners remain actively involved by planning what to grow and gardening with the volunteer who is often a younger person. The project enables older people to stay in their home longer, retain their independence and increase their social contact. It also contributes significantly to the health and wellbeing of both partners involved. Many of the gardens involve growing food and it also includes communal gardens often attached to sheltered housing. Funding and partners Garden partners is run by Age UK Wandsworth and funded by NHS Wandsworth. It was originally funded by the PCT and now commissioned by The CCG in Wandsworth. Background The large number of young adults living in Wandsworth, coupled with the high cost of property, means that many live in flats or shared accommodation, with limited or no access to garden space. In 2008 there was an average waiting time of three years for an allotment, a figure which has since risen. At the same time Age UK Wandsworth (AUW) received an average of 15 calls a week from people seeking help with their garden, many of whom had some sort of physical health condition so couldn’t manage their own garden and are unable to afford the cost of professional gardening services. It was against this backdrop that the Garden Partners was born. To explore the potential demand for such a scheme, the council contacted those on their allotment waiting list, while AUW approached older people on its database. A high level of interest was expressed, and a project proposal was put together, with NHS Wandsworth agreeing to fund the scheme for two years initially. The Garden Partners scheme began in April 2009, matching older garden owners who need help with their gardens with volunteer gardeners who would like more growing space. The project was publicised in GP practices, in local authority venues such as libraries, via Occupational Therapists, a website and social networks and the council’s allotments officer. Links with local health priorities and services Originally Garden Partners was an idea from Wandsworth Council in response to the length of allotment waiting lists, which found a natural fit with the on-going demand for gardening help from older people. From its inception, in 2008, the project has been supported by NHS Wandsworth and they continue to commission it as it offers both health and social benefits that fit with their JSNAs. As the largest inner London Borough, Wandsworth had the second highest proportion of women aged 75-plus living alone in London (69%) with 60% of older people on low incomes, being entirely reliant on the state pension. The most common health issues among older people in the borough were hypertension and diabetes; about one-third had mobility difficulties and more than 7% estimated to have depression. The number of excess winter deaths among older people was significantly higher than both the London and the national average. Hospital stays were longer and the rate of hip fractures was increasing. This was coupled with a significantly high proportion of young adults living in Wandsworth. Just under half of residents (48%) were aged 20-39, compared to 27% nationally and 36% in Greater London. NHS Wandsworth saw the schemes potential to contribute to the quality of life, health and outlook for both older and younger generations. It was anticipated that the PCT and social services would make savings with this relatively low-cost intervention which helps improve or maintain older people’s health for longer. In 2011 the NHS funded some independent research to measure the health and wellbeing outcomes.
  3. 3. Service aims and delivery Aims and objectives The Garden Partners scheme is an innovative way of delivering a number of benefits, which although based on a practical partnership, provide the health benefits of outdoor exercise and healthy eating for both volunteers and garden owners. The project also provides an opportunity for volunteers and older garden owners, who may otherwise lack social contact, to come together in a joint enterprise and potentially form friendships. The ‘partners’ plan the garden, decide together what they grow and share in the produce. A service coordinator was appointed to set up and run the scheme at AUW, to establish systems for managing the matching system and developing publicity materials. Overall: It was anticipated that the scheme would help to reduce: ●● he incidence of falls t ●● depression and isolation ●● and save costs associated health and social care expenditure. Older people: ●● ess worry about and more enjoyment of the garden. L ●● etter health through growing and eating fresh fruit and B vegetables. ●● entle exercise through continuing or being enabled to G garden. ●● educed risk of falls and accidents in the garden. R ●● reater opportunities for friendship and companionship. G ●● mproved mental wellbeing through having a new or renewed I interest and more social contact. Volunteers: ●● ncreased access to outdoor space for growing a range of I plants. ●● etter health through growing and eating fresh fruit and B vegetables and getting outdoor exercise. ●● he opportunity to assist and befriend an older person and T increase their community involvement.
  4. 4. Outcomes / key achievements Whilst the scheme reports on a quarterly basis to the commissioners this is mostly in relation to number of partners with case study examples. From May 2009 to January 2012: ●● ixty seven gardens and 72 volunteers took S part ●● ore than 72% of partnerships lasted over six M months, and one third for more than a year ●● ost of the garden owners were in their M seventies (39%) and eighties (34%) ●● hree-quarters of the garden owners lived T alone ●● ust under half had experienced a fall or were J at risk of falling, and just over one-third had a serious health condition, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke or Parkinson’s ●● ost of the volunteers were in their twenties M (42%) or thirties (25%) ●● any volunteers work in skilled occupations M and live in rented accommodation. The project is not specifically targeted at people with specific health conditions, nor was data collected on an on-going basis on the state of participant’s health however the independent research conducted in 2011 looked to gain information about the likely impact of the project on participant’s health. The survey conducted included some questions based on the EQ5-D questionnaire which is widely used to measure older peoples quality of life. The evaluation showed that: ●● ore than half of garden owners felt less felt M less anxious through having the garden tended ●● ne third said their mobility and ability to O carry out everyday activities had improved or remained stable. ●● lder people felt more able to maintain their O independence, delaying the need for intensive home care or a move to residential care. ●● sing standard health service costings for a U range on interventions, researchers estimated the potential savings to the NHS in one year of the project to be £113,748 for those who reported an improvement in their health. When widened to include those who reported their condition was no worse this gives a potential saving of £500,223. ●● dditionally the contribution made by volunteers A equated to £131,795 The main achievements of the project were: ●● ffective matching of partners E ●● eeping gardens under control K ●● rowing produce and thus encouraging healthy G eating and reducing food bills ●● reating community ties bring together local C people who might not have met ●● eciprocity as there is something in it for both R partners ●● nabling self-determination as it is a E partnership ●● mproving health and wellbeing for both I partners Key challenges Suitability: The scheme is less suitable for some older people where there are issues such as memory problems, limited understanding, depression or excessive passivity as this can lead to practical difficulties for the volunteer communicating with the garden owner in planning the garden. Depression: This is a factor for both garden owners and volunteers that can be difficult to deal with or predict. Gardening can be very beneficial for people who are recovering from depression, but in the context of garden sharing, much depends on where they are on their path to recovery. Where depression is on-going, or motivation and consistency are still issues for the person concerned, experience has shown that this can create continued difficulties. Self motivation, reliability and relationships: Volunteers in particular need to be highly selfmotivated in their involvement, and much relies on their enthusiasm and commitment in establishing and maintaining a partnership. Other difficulties arise in relation to volunteer unreliability and the involvement of a third party when a volunteer is used to a one-to-one relationship with the older person.
  5. 5. Key opportunities Supporting documents Benefits: For health and social care commissioners, the project has the potential to achieve considerable benefits, both qualitative and financial, for a modest investment. The project addresses people’s health needs, but in the context of meeting their social needs too. Available to download at www.growinghealth.info Targeting: Garden Partners reaches older people who may not otherwise be in contact with health and social care services. It can enable the providing agency to carry out basic risk assessments and put people in contact with other preventive services, thus preventing problems further. Key contact details Sue Sweeney, Garden Partners Coordinator Age UK Wandsworth, 549 Old York Road, London SW18 1TQ 020 8877 8946 sue.sweeney@ageukwandsworth.org.uk www.ageuk.org.uk/wandsworth/our-services/ garden-partners/ Measurement: Developing systems for measuring outcomes and impact. Robust evidence of effectiveness and value for money is increasingly important among health and social care commissioners. Preventive schemes such as Garden Partners need to have systems for measuring impact that demonstrate the value of the project. The measurement of impact needs to be based on more robust quantitative data. This can only be obtained through structured and consistent questionnaires, administered to the same people at different points in time. The data should be complemented with qualitative case studies, based on interviews (formal or informal) with participants. Produced December 2013 Growing Health is a national project run by Garden Organic and Sustain, which is funded by the Tudor Trust, to see how community food growing can be routinely used by the health and social care services as a way of promoting health and wellbeing for a range of individuals and population groups. To sign up to the Growing Health network visit www.growinghealth.info Growing Health Food growing for health and wellbeing

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