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The G.A.R.D.E.N. Project, nominated for the 2023 Nursing Times Awards

Jul 24, 2023 | Discover Our Blog

The transformative power of gardening and the healing potential of nature have long been recognised, and are the principle on which the SweetTree Fields Care Farm was founded. Now, we are thrilled to announce that the G.A.R.D.E.N. project, led by The Queen’s Nursing Institute and implemented at SweetTree Fields Farm, has been nominated for a prestigious Nursing in Social Care 2023 Nursing Times Award. This nomination is a testament to the outstanding efforts and achievements of the project in enhancing the well-being of residents and staff in social care settings.

What Is Project G.A.R.D.E.N

G.A.R.D.E.N. stands for Grow, Active, Recharge, Develop, Enrich, Nurture, and Nature – a fitting acronym that encapsulates the mission of the project. Its primary goal is to create nurturing environments where individuals can engage with nature, cultivate gardening skills, and experience the physical and psychological benefits of outdoor activities.

Over the course of a decade-long research expedition, the G.A.R.D.E.N. project has ventured into the depths of social care settings, uncovering the potential of gardening and nature-based activities. The impact of the project has been remarkable.

The Project’s Success, in Numbers

Across all nine social care settings involved, there has been a noticeable increase in meaningful interactions between residents and staff. The simple act of gardening together has led to improved moods and heightened physical activities among those who participate. The project’s positive impact isn’t limited to the residents alone; it has extended to healthcare professionals as well.

The Nurse Education team, who supported the project and actively participated in farm visits, reported improved mental well-being. These visits, held at SweetTree Fields Farm, provided a serene environment where 40% of the staff felt a sense of calm, while 60% found themselves inspired by the therapeutic atmosphere. It’s worth noting that even the residents who accompanied the staff experienced a sense of calm (60%) and expressed happiness (40%).

One of the staff members, deeply moved by the experience, shared their thoughts: “I enjoyed visiting SweetTree Farm and greatly appreciated Gemma’s guided tour, showcasing the benefits of the facilities for individuals with diverse support needs. The activities organized by Gemma stimulated my creativity, engaged my senses and thinking skills, and fostered a sense of overall well-being. I firmly believe that the environment and ethos of SweetTree Farm, along with the introduced activities, will greatly benefit the residents.”

About SweetTree Fields Farm

SweetTree Fields Farm is a therapeutic environment designed to engage, inspire, and encourage the participation of all in the community. The wide range of activities are designed to promote independence and self-expression. For some of SweetTree Home Care Services‘ clients, it provides an opportunity to socialise, develop new skills and interact with nature in a safe space.

2023 Nursing Times Awards Ceremony

The 2023 Nursing Times Awards ceremony will take place on 25th October at the JW Marriott Grosvenor. This prestigious award will recognise exceptional individuals and teams, with standout awards for Nurse of the Year, Team of the Year, Nurse Leader of the Year and new for this year, Midwife of the Year.

The G.A.R.D.E.N. project’s nomination for the 2023 Nursing Times Award is a well-deserved recognition of the powerful impact that gardening and nature-based activities can have in healthcare settings. It showcases the dedication and innovation of all those involved in making this project a resounding success.

Keep an eye on the awards website for updates on the winners and more.