If you are a gardener then you will know that there is nothing better than getting your hands in the soil, planting your own seeds and watching them grow, to improve mental health and wellbeing.
So, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we teamed up with community enterprise Kinder Garden Cooks to provide free gardening materials to hundreds of children and young people.
Wellbeing has rarely been as important as at the present time as many of us remain at home to stem the spread of COVID-19 or because we have been asked to isolate.
Among those to benefit were 20 households in isolation due to family members being high risk or showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
The families were gifted free bags of New Leaf Compost and seeds from Kinder Garden Cooks enabling them to grow their own food and flowers.
More than 100 bags of free compost were distributed, and 280 sunflower kits provided.
Sharon McMaster who runs Kinder Garden Cooks said the initiative allowed them to “really see how gardening can boost mental health and wellbeing”.
“It helps people remain grounded, provides a highly rewarding hobby and by gives a new focus that works to reduce stress,” she said.
Among those to receive compost and seeds is Sinead Kavanagh from Ballinderry, Co Antrim who described gardening as “a lifeline” as she coped with the difficulties of living in lockdown.
Another recipient, Kieron Connaghan was stuck at home during lockdown said, “keeping busy at this and growing has really helped me during this time”.
To hear about the the impact the project has had on participants, read their stories to find out more.