Upon invitation, Annabelle Padwick, the founder of Life at No.27, a horticultural therapy and mental health counselling provider in the UK, is to address and advise the House of Lords on the future of horticulture.
Annabelle Padwick will offer her expert insight into the current landscape regarding horticulture and mental health; leading with evidence-based knowledge and her recommendations towards future legislations. Annabelle aims to inform plans that will make a significant impact on the future of horticulture as she heads to the House of Lords to speak with the Horticultural Sector Committee. The committee, currently conducting an inquiry and report into the future of horticulture, will be seeking insights from Annabelle based her expertise and understanding of the mental health landscape within the UK and how this aligns with professional horticulturalists and hobby gardeners. The oral evidence session, titled "Horticulture and Mental Health," is scheduled to take place on June 22nd, starting at 11:30am and will be streamed live on Parliament TV.
As the founder of Life at No.27, Annabelle has gained recognition across England and Wales, including the support of the Prince and Princess of Wales, for her expertise and dedication to offering gardening based mental health support sessions for children and adults. Supporting those from as young as five years old within school settings and at bespoke built Life at No.27 therapy sites. Through her empathetic, creative humanistic approach, Annabelle and her team have given children the skills and confidence to share their emotions safely, learn new practical and mental skills and importantly, the option to stay in school education and thrive.
Life at No.27 have adapted their services like no other organisation, to ensure that new parents can safely attend with their baby and still receive mental health support in an outdoor, nurturing environment. Adults have grown in confidence and skills, to a level where they have been able to return to or approach full time employment for the first time.
The Horticultural Sector Committee's inquiry into the future of horticulture is an essential undertaking in exploring ways to ensure the sustainability and growth of this vital industry. Recognising the importance of how the isolating nature of working in horticulture can impact professionals’ mental health, as well the therapeutic opportunities that gardening can offer everyone, the committee invited Annabelle to provide oral evidence and be part of the report being curated.
Her insights and experiences will provide invaluable guidance to policymakers and industry professionals, shedding light on the critical role of professional support and evidence-based messaging in shaping the future of horticulture. Annabelle will be on an expert panel alongside a Professor of Change in Agriculture from Cranfield University and the Head of Natural Environment at the National Academy of Social Prescribing.
Annabelle Padwick, Founder, Life at No.27:
“I am honoured to have been invited to offer my knowledge and experience to the horticultural sector committee and be part of the enquiry report.
Whilst I'm one of the biggest advocates of growing your own produce and connecting with nature for our wellbeing, I want to assure my clients and readers, that I will go on to show you in the live televised discussion, that horticulture can benefit many people's mental health, but only if they have the right professional support alongside them too, as well as a safe environment to grow in.
Over the past few years too many people and brands have leveraged the gardening and mental health message for gain and uneducated 'helpful' messaging, with no professional understanding of the actual UK mental health landscape. No understanding of the impact this messaging has on individuals. Yes, it may help some, but this uninformed messaging is also negatively impacting vulnerable individuals in many communities. It’s also on occasions ignoring professional horticulturalists who work within the sector, isolated in their work and not receiving enough recognition and pay for their skills.
I hope that as a panel we will represent our communities clearly and honestly, we will push for change in future legislation's and ensure that what we say gives an accurate picture of the connections between horticulture and mental health."
Viewers can watch the event by tuning into Parliament TV's live stream, on Thursday 22nd June at 11:30am.