Evaluating the impact and benefits of being involved in Lewes House Community Garden Project.

Engaging in food growing activities can have a positive impact on mental health. Outcomes include reducing stress, anxiety and depression whilst providing a sense of purpose, connection to nature and opportunities for social interaction.

Lewes House Community Gardening project provides free supported gardening sessions to the local community and is grounded in a belief that being surrounded by plants, helping them to grow, and spending time in nature, with others, is beneficial for many aspects of physical and mental health. The ethos of the project is one of inclusivity, with members representing a wide range of background and abilities.

Food Matters was commissioned to lead a facilitated evaluation session to help members of the Lewes House Community Garden explore the benefits of attending. Given the range of physical and mental abilities of members, the evaluation was designed to be inclusive and easy to engage with.  The sessions – co-designed with project support volunteers – focused on facilitated conversations with individuals and small groups around three questions: What one word sums up how you feel about Lewes House Garden? What about it gives you the biggest buzz? What are the main benefits?

The evaluation process was very gently paced and fluid and helped facilitators determine key benefits under the themes of: people, place, skills, mood and physical.  Developing an understanding of peoples’ experiences and perceived benefits will support the garden’s fund-raising and its engagement with the people of Lewes.

“This is a huge thanks for such a brilliantly presented write-up of the evaluations  sessions you carried out for the Lewes House Garden project. I think the sessions themselves helped to reinforce a sense of belonging and purpose for group members, not to mention for us session leaders too.” ~ Lewes House Garden Founder & Community Gardener

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Get in touch with the Food Matters team to find out more about what we do or get involved. We also want to hear from you if you would like to collaborate with us on a future project.