Cyrenians and Scottish Natural Heritage celebrate three years of Green Learning

Homelessness charity Cyrenians is celebrating three years of its community garden Green Learning Project run.

Situated at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Midlothian Community Hospital, the gardens provide opportunities for people to get outside and grow food, bringing people together and reducing social isolation.

The Green Learning Project is funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and was designed to help vulnerable people get outdoors more and enjoy the therapeutic benefits that can be gained from taking part in gardening and other nature-based activities.

Since the project’s launch in 2015, 99 people have gained a John Muir Conservation Award, 24 people have achieved a Scottish Vocational Qualification and three people have completed the Green Learning Project Grow and Learn Award.

In addition over 160 people have benefitted from a range of gardening and nature-based activities, such as mindfulness and sensory gardening, gardening for dementia, and willow craft and herbal remedies. These activities were funded by SNH.

John, who suffers with anxiety and depression, completed his SVQ this year.

He said: “I feel proud. I have found another way to feel a part of something.”

Bridget Finton, SNH’s health & participation officer, said: “This project has brought significant health and well-being benefits to those who’ve engaged in the range of activity programmes. It’s also helped raise awareness amongst hospital staff about ways we can all use the outdoors as our natural health service.”

In addition to this series of activities, the Cyrenians community gardens are open three days a week to volunteers and have a regular rolling programme of events and workshops which are run in the gardens and on hospital wards.

The gardens are open every day to visitors in the hospital and wider community.

Image credits: Cyrenians