We currently rent an allotment from South Dublin County Council in Bohernabreena at the Friarstown allotments as part a therapeutic programme for individuals involved in addiction. The therapeutic benefits of horticulture are becoming increasingly recognised within the mental health and addiction settings. The environment that we live and work in has a significant impact on our physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development.
“I would recommend this training as it is relaxing and keeps my mind occupied and away from my addiction” (past programme participant 2013)
Intellectual benefits: attainment of new skills and recognition of abilities. This includes sensory stimulation, FETAC training; improved vocabulary and communication skills. The group have produced a variety of crops; learned how to care for seedlings and grow them to fruition, have learned about what can go wrong, how to control pests. They have grown completely organic produce without the use of pesticides or insecticides.
Social benefits: Interaction with the group. Working together towards a common goal; working within a team; encouraging responsibility, communication and interaction with the local community; sharing produce, tips and ideas. Participants have recognised themselves that this project has had a positive impact on relationships with their families; children, partners and parents.
Emotional Growth: Improved confidence and self-esteem. Individuals take a pride in their work and a sense of ownership of the allotment. It has given them the opportunity to take time out of lives that are stressful and negative, and to connect to the earth and take time to restore well-being. This then allows creativity and self-expression, and promotes interest and enthusiasm for new activities.
Physical benefits: the development and improvement of basic motor skills; improving flexibility, muscle strengthening and weight loss. Spending time outdoors, away from housing estates and built up areas allows individuals to experience new environments. Exposure to sunlight, fresh air and weather conditions contributes to a more positive attitude and awareness of mental health.
Cost Effective: it has also been suggested that Eco therapy is a simple, cost-effective means of improving well-being.
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