Gardens grow confidence in homeless people

Gardening projects across the country are inspiring confidence and a sense of community in people who have been homeless.

North London

Young adults at a foyer for homeless young people in North London (pictured above) have learned the value of home-grown food by starting their own vegetable gardening project. They’ve even planted a cherry tree.

Their support worker, Sandra, said: “They have really taken this to their hearts. In particular, they’ve enjoyed working outdoors as part of a team, supporting each other and celebrating the fruits of their labour.

Cambridge

Recently, a tree was planted to mark the first anniversary of the therapeutic garden project at a hostel in Cambridge. Over the past year, residents have had great fun creating and maintaining a pond, insect hotel, herb and flower beds, and vegetable plots.

Therapeutic gardener Ruth leads weekly sessions on what they can plant or build next. By working together, she explained, the hostel residents get a sense of community that they may have lost: “It’s such an important part of someone’s identity to feel they’re part of something.”

Support worker Russell added: “People feel really relaxed and are able to come here and share things that they may not have shared if you met them on the street.”

Elaine (pictured bottom right), who became homeless after a relationship breakdown, said: “I think my big turning point was when we heard of the gardening project. That was when my self-confidence started to return; it felt good to be part of a team again.”