Winners of Green Health Awards announced
Representatives from churches around the country joined health and gardening professionals at the one day conference, during which the awards were presented. Delegates heard speakers from the RHS, the King’s Fund and other experts explain the benefits of gardening to physical and mental issues.
Mental health problems in local communities are now one of the biggest social issues Church of England clergy encounter. A survey of more than 1,000 senior clergy found that the proportion reporting that mental health is a ‘major’ or ‘significant’ problem in their local area increased sharply over the past five years.
The Green Health Awards and Green Health Live Conference are an initiative of the Church of England working with The Church Times, The Guild of Health and St Raphael and The Conservation Foundation to encourage more churches to see how their space can be used either by members of their own congregations or by community groups and health organisations.
The winners were:
St Paul’s Church Camden Square in the Parish of Old St Pancras was announced as the winner of the Church Times Green Health Award for 2018 and received the Gardening Against The Odds trophy.
St Paul’s Church, in the parish of Old St Pancras, has created a woodland garden which is a wildlife and growing space supported by members of the congregation and involving patients from St Pancras Hospital which specialises in geriatric and psychiatric care. Its weekly session has been designed to coincide a holy communion service and coffee morning. The church aims to share and make use of its outdoor space with the need for people experiencing social exclusion and mental health difficulties to have access welcoming and supportive green space.
The garden at Wharton and Cleggs Lane Church in Salford won The Allchurches Trust Community Nurture Award. The award focuses on the gardens that get local people involved and boost the community’s spiritual, mental and physical health.
Wharton and Cleggs Lane Church began developing gardens on land at the rear of the Methodist church in Salford ten years ago. Sited in one of the most deprived areas of the country the project involves community allotments, a small orchard, nature walk and two greenhouses. The church works closely with the local health improvement team who refer people to the project.
St John’s Meadow Garden, Upper Norwood won The Mind and Soul Foundation Growing Calm Award for an urban ecotherapy project that provides community and respite for residents of heavily urban environments.
St John’s Meadow Garden is in a built-up urban area of Croydon which offers nurture through nature for people of all ages and backgrounds. The project began in 2013 when the vicar appealed for help to manage land adjacent to the church which had become overgrown and derelict. With the help of volunteers the meadow has since become a community haven with strong links to Croydon Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health and two doctors’ surgeries providing a calm and nurturing space and a listening ear.