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Gardening and horticulture cross-party group advocates for health and wellbeing benefits of therapeutic horticulture

18 April 2024

Members of the Scottish Gardening and Horticulture Cross-Party Group (CPG) have written a joint letter to three Ministers advocating for the health benefits of horticulture and gardening in healthcare settings. The letter emphasises the role of environmental horticulture in enhancing health outcomes and urges policymakers to provide sustained funding for therapeutic horticulture initiatives.

The letter was sent following a set of visits and a meeting facilitated by the charity Trellis and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), where MSPs and their staff saw firsthand how therapeutic horticulture fosters health and well-being among communities.

The Ministers contacted were Minister Neil Gray MSP, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Minister Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport and Minister Jim Fairlie MSP, Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity.

The Gardening and Horticulture CPG highlights the potential of horticulture and gardening as a policy solution to bolster patient recovery and mental health while enhancing healthcare professionals' welfare. The group also emphasises the economic benefits of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) projects, including reduced healthcare service utilisation and medication dependency.

To address the critical need for standardised training and professionalisation within the field, Trellis Scotland is collaborating with educational institutions to develop the first accredited course in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture in Scotland. Additionally, Trellis is spearheading the establishment of the UK Association for Social and Therapeutic Horticulture to uphold quality standards and provide essential support for practitioners in the field.

The letter's signatories also invite policymakers to participate in World Therapeutic Horticulture Day on 18 May 2024, which will precede a week of activities dedicated to highlighting STH's benefits. The letter expresses gratitude for the Scottish Government's past support but emphasises the need for sustained funding to safeguard the continuity and expansion of essential initiatives in therapeutic horticulture.

Stan Green, who represents the HTA in Scotland, commented:

“We are delighted by the reaction and engagement The HTA continues to have at Holyrood. This reflects the substantial progress regarding the profile of Environmental Horticulture, and a recognition of the role it has benefiting all in the health sector, whether general wellbeing or treating people with severe illness or in need of social support.”

The full letter is on the link below.

CPG letter regarding health and horticulture

CPG Letter - Health and Horticulture April 2024

Click below to download the letter


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