Green care network connects people with nature

The Norfolk Green Care Network was established just over two years ago. “Green care” is essentially about the health and well-being benefits from connecting with nature in some way.

Field of Joy works with work with adults and children, improving wellbeing and reducing isolation. Photo: Field of Joy

The idea of getting people and projects that are about promoting nature connection together has since gone from strength to strength, especially as the pandemic has made people more aware of nature and how being in touch with it helps both physical and mental health.
The network now has more than 200 members and has held a wide range of online events to discuss topics ranging from soil health to interacting with animals, and is now playing a significant part in promoting new developments in green care across the county.
These include developing a way in which local communities can get involved in projects to improve biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change, and ways in which hospitals and other healthcare sites can play a bigger role in promoting health and well-being for patients, carers, staff and the wider community.
The Norfolk Green Care Festival, which will be held from Saturday 23 July – Sunday 7 August, includes the Bishop’s Garden in Norwich open on the afternoon of Thursday 4 August – see the website for more details or contact Nigel Boldero by email.
The Reepham area has some great examples of projects that are benefitting a wide range of people:

  • Field of Joy is a care farm on Dereham Road, Reepham, which is currently working with a wide range of people, including adults and children with learning disabilities and autism, young asylum seekers and home-educated children. It is planning a new, free gardening and mindfulness group for the autumn and also welcomes volunteers. For more information, contact Caitlin Howells by email.
  • Eves Hill Veg Co has recently moved from Booton to Aylsham but is continuing its outreach project in the walled garden of the Bircham Centre in Reepham. Now operating on Friday afternoons (1–4 pm, all welcome), it helps to support groups and people to garden with greater confidence and ambition and hopefully to see the creation of more gardens. Recently, a beautiful, green timber potting shelter has been added to the site to extend “in-house” plant growing. This is a great example of a partnership that is creating an inspiring space that continues to evolve as a venue for talks, etc. For more information, contact Hannah Claxton by email.
  • Reepham High School & College Allotment Project – this well-established project, which has a wide range of innovative recycled features, such as water harvesting, can be proud of its role in prompting founder Matt Willer into setting up the Papillon Project – a registered charity that is now working with many high schools across the county to set up and run school allotments. For more information, contact Matt Willer by email.


Eves Hill Veg Co is continuing its outreach project in Bircham Centre garden in Reepham. Photo: Eves Hill Veg Co

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