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This evidence paper summarises the findings of the third and final phase of the Growing Together study of the use
of social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) as a form of health and social care provision for vulnerable adults.
The first phase of the research, a review of the literature, has already been published (Sempik et al, 2003) and
summarised in Evidence Issue 6. The second phase, findings from a survey of STH projects showing the level of
activity and participation in the UK were summarised in Evidence Issue 8. Full details of these findings have
recently been published (Sempik et al, 2005).
In order to study the effects of participation in STH, 24 garden ‘projects’ were examined in depth. Interviews were
recorded with 137 clients, 88 project staff and carers, and 11 health professionals.
The findings show that STH is an effective form of social care which promotes social inclusion and well-being for
people with a wide range of social, mental and physical problems, including those with mental ill health, learning
difficulties, challenging behaviour, physical disabilities and others.