Nurturing Good Mental Health at the MHN Allotment

Posted on the 23rd September 2021

This colourful display of cheery sunflowers is providing an uplifting welcome to our weekly Mental Health Network (MHN) allotment group. Don’t they look wonderful?

The group has also grown kale and onions, garlic, tomatoes, strawberries and more. It’s so impressive, not least because the group only started this spring!

Lovely as the produce is though, the true bounty is the improvement in the mental health and wellbeing of those who attend. Nature heals.

Benefits of Nature and Company for Mental Health

Just being outdoors in the fresh air, in a beautiful place, is a great start. Add a little exercise, plus that uplift from seeing the plants you tend thrive – well that’s even better.  Most rewarding of all though, is the opportunity to talk, laugh and just “be” with other people who understand that life isn’t always easy.

They may have been through dark times but in the no-pressure environment of the MHN allotment, members find that peer support just happens. When it comes to mental health challenges, it helps just knowing you are not alone.

Coming here cheers me up, relaxes me. It changes my mood. It's peaceful and we have a good laugh. I'm not really in to the gardening side but I like doing other jobs like collecting the garden waste and digging the compost. Really, I just like being useful. - "Handy Alan"

I like coming here because it gets me out of the house. I need to start getting out more. It is a reason to get up in the morning and the people are good fun. - Megan

Mental Health Network members

One of the  people running the group is Lisa Crank who boasts no prior gardening knowledge!

This is a very calm environment with no pressure. We are not expert gardeners. Some things have been a success; others, less so. However, we have managed a decent crop. We are quite proud!

It is so good to see people's mood change when they are out in nature and have a different focus. We are already planning next year's crops and often just looking forwards is a fine thing in itself. The allotment really is a great, positive place to be.

Lisa Crank - Pure Innovations, Stockport MHN

What a growing success. We can’t wait to see what the group grows next.

The Stockport Mental Health Network

Pure Innovations leads the Stockport Mental Health Network in partnership with Beacon Counselling and the Stockport Progress and Recovery Centre (SPARC). The MHN allotment in Heaton Norris is just one part of its wide-ranging work.

The Network is specifically for people who have been engaged with, are currently engaged with, or are leaving statutory mental health services.

If you would like to know more, please click on the link below. You’ll find a video about Alan’s own mental health journey there too.

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