NHS Tayside’s Community Innovation Fund has supported the continued success of the Forfar Open Garden (FOG).
FOG is now in its fifth year and is an established small therapeutic gardening charity open to all. It provides an inclusive and nurturing environment to promote physical activity and wellbeing in Forfar.
The Community Innovation Fund provided initial funding to help set up the garden followed by a further award for additional projects.
Douglas Burt of FOG said, “NHS Tayside has been very supportive of what we have done and our ambition is to continue to develop this as a harmonious and attractive garden for all members of the community, especially those with physical or mental disability or those who suffer from social isolation. We want to promote the use of therapeutic gardening as part of a holistic approach to individuals that may benefit from this.
“The garden remains open all year with different activities and events following the seasons. There are many reasons why people come to the garden but the love of plants and the wish to connect with people in a safe space offer strong foundations on which people can work alongside each other.”
The core activity of the garden was recognised by the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. FOG was assessed in July 2018 in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ annual award category and was given a Level 5 outstanding award.
NHS Tayside community capacity building officer Richard McIntosh said, “FOG is a great example of the types of projects that the Community Innovation Fund supports. The aim is to aid communities to develop local improvement projects that will benefit the health and wellbeing of communities across Tayside.
“FOG is a beautiful space where everyone is welcome and they are doing great work connecting people of all ages, from local school children to senior citizens, increasing their wellbeing, creating connections and offering opportunities for education, training and work experiences in gardening activities for people of all abilities.”
FOG coordinator Ruth Nay added, “The therapeutic benefits of the garden as a place for people to call into are sometimes so profound and yet so ordinary. I have seen an increased community involvement. Plants offer a common ground for people to talk about bereavement, loneliness, sadness and lots of shared knowledge and experiences.”
Forfar Open Garden is located at 36 Lochside Road in Forfar.
For more information on NHS Tayside Community Innovation Fund, please visit www.communityinnovationfundtayside.scot.nhs.uk or call 01382 596979.