Growing Support is an award-winning social enterprise that tackles loneliness, inactivity, and social isolation. The enterprise volunteers are key to the business ability to enable older people to be more socially and physically active, enjoy working in the garden, and spend time outdoors.
Growing Support understands that 50 percent of older people living in care do not go outside and they are more likely to experience severe loneliness compared to those living in the community. Therefore, the social enterprise provides “social and therapeutic horticulture activities” for old people. The enterprise runs weekly gardening clubs that are supported by trained volunteers. The older people work together in the garden, connect with nature, and grow their own food. These activities offer sensory stimulation, increase a sense of purpose, increase social interaction, and exercise key muscle groups.
In addition, Growing Support has developed a new outdoor life story tool, an activity designed to identify a person past, present and future. That activity focuses on individuals’ experiences of the gardens and outdoors, and helps the older people to get the right care.
Generally, all the activities that are carried out by Growing Support improve the health and quality of life of all the people involved.