Social and Therapeutic Horticulture for Workers

This is not just any gardening but an evidence-based method to improve one’s wellbeing

There is ample published evidence demonstrating that working with nature and gardening in a social setting promotes wellbeing.  See our Evidence Resources to find out more about the evidence for social and therapeutic horticulture (STH).


New Bassetlaw initiative for Employers

Muddy fork is a new charity delivering STH to a wide group of people. They have considerable experience in delivering horticulture for people's wellbeing. This successful programme has been extended support employee wellbeing. Any employers are wellcome to apply and discuss their needs and the costs involved. Whatever they pay will help to support the free service Muddy Fork run for people referred to the service with mental health challenges.

Who is it suitable for?
Any worker whether or not you have experience in gardening.
This will provide an opportunity to meet and socialise with others whilst doing something meaningful … and it should be fun!

The owner of the Babworth Estate, Retford (Google map) has very generously made a site within the estate available for our use. Previously the site was a paddock so is uncultivated.  It is rural, with an open aspect and fringed by a wooded area carpeted with snowdrops.
This is an exciting opportunity to create a garden from scratch.  We will progress from clearing the site and exploring its potential to designing and planting a new garden.
We have access to an indoor room, drink-making facilities and indoor toilets.

Who will run the sessions?
Muddy Fork run the sessions, supported by other professionals or agencies as required

When are the sessions?
The sessions are for 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons every fortnight, from 2-5 pm.
The different days give you flexibility on when you can attend.  It’s not a course, so you don’t need to attend every session.  We hope you will continue coming even when you have achieved your personal goals.

What happens when I get there?
Here is a typical session format. The content will vary according to the stage of garden development, season and preferences of participants.


Welcome, hot drink, signing in. Health and safety, housekeeping, group rules.


Introductions.  Tasks for day discussed and chosen  (heavy, medium or light).


Go outside.  Safe use of tools reminder.  Detailed discussion of each task.   Start horticulture work.  Take breaks whenever needed.


Complete horticulture work.  Tidy tools and admire the work we achieved.


Group discussion inside.  Complete any evaluation tools. Time for personal reflection.


Session finishes.  

What do I bring on the day?
Outdoor clothes (rain proof) and footwear suitable for gardening
Packed lunch
Gardening gloves if you have them
We will provide gardening hand tools and hot drinks.

What do we need from you?
The sessions are sponsored by your employer, and will help support the free service at Idle Valley for people with mental health challenges. But to gain the most benefit we need you to turn up to as many sessions as you can.
We need feedback from you. We use an anonymous feedback format that has been validated and used nationally. Personal feedback from you is also valuable.
We require that you are up to date with tetanus immunisation.

In summary
This is an exciting and innovative project to support employees' wellbeing.

How do I apply?
Please contact Dominic Schad

Phone   07421356717


We are really looking forward to hearing from you!