New centre for gardeners

A new garden centre in Bath will help address mental health issues and lead the way on reducing single use plastics.

After a 12 month delay, The Urban Garden – based on the B&NES nursery site in Royal Victoria Park – will finally be opening its gates to the public on 2nd April selling high quality plants and innovative garden products, such as Bag for Life compost and serve yourself bird seed. 

As a social enterprise, the project already offers free City & Guilds training programme for people with mental health issues and other life challenges.

There is growing evidence that gardening and horticulture are powerful ways to improve your health and wellbeing.  Research has found that family doctors who referred patients for hobbies such as gardening and fishing saw a 25 per cent reduction in visits to Accident & Emergency units.

Matt Smail, Manager of the Urban Garden, said: 

“For people who struggle with depression or low motivation, gardening activities can energise them and bring a new sense of purpose.  I am delighted that 6 people have already achieved their Level 1 Award and I’m looking forward to welcoming more.” 

Matt has been helping unemployed young people get back into work since he started the Grow Yourself CIC in 2015.  He said:   

“For someone who’s been out of work for a while, it can be hard for them to find structure and purpose in their lives. At the Urban Garden we give people horticulture skills and employability skills to help them get back into work – such as getting back into a routine, customer care and how to write a good CV.”

The Urban Garden works in collaboration with Bath charity Grow for Life and Bath & North East Somerset Council.  The council is providing the site for the garden centre and supplying the plants.  As many plants as possible will be grown onsite.   

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “It’s great news for the local community that the Urban Garden can now open to the public. Not only will this innovative project be a great place for people to buy locally grown plants and edibles, but it is supporting residents to improve their skills and wellbeing. I look forward to seeing more people flourish as a result of this excellent initiative.”

 The Urban Garden will open at 9.30am on 2nd April on the B&NES nursery site, in Royal Victoria Park.  For further information or to volunteer please see visit their website www.theurbangarden.org.uk