When Mary Berry was picking the topics on Women’s Hour during her guest editorship recently, she chose the therapeutic benefits of gardening. 

She shared her personal experience of being able to get away from it all in her own garden and how she had helped a friend with memory problems reconnect with the pleasures of the outdoors.

This linked to a report about how GP surgeries in the deprived area of Tower Hamlets were turning to social prescribing to give relief to those in mental distress.  A pioneering Dr Sam Everington had found one in three of his patients had a mental health issue on top of the ailment they were consulting him about. 

This had led to the creation of a scheme whereby patients could be referred to spend time on allotments and in other green spaces to escape the pressures of life and improve their mental state.

One success story was a parent of six children who had found the process of growing and tending plants had helped her to forget her worries and live in the moment; in turn aiding her mental recovery while boosting her physical wellbeing.

We at Aspire can only applaud social prescribing which seeks to treat the patient’s health issues as a whole and along with its creators, we hope it becomes more of the norm over time.