The Nurture Project is a social enterprise that operates a therapeutic year round garden and nature related project, supporting adults living with mild to moderate mental health issues. It aims to provide an impartial and safe space for adults to improve their mental and physical wellbeing in a friendly but structured environment. No gardening experience is required, and participation is offered on both a one-to-one and small group basis, as well as outreach work.  


The community orientated organisation is based in tranquil gardens in Kettlestone, near Fakenham, and is staffed by experienced horticultural therapists.  The Nurture Project’s main activities take place in and around a walled garden, which consists of vegetable and cutting gardens, an orchard, a quiet garden, and an adjacent pond area.  In addition, there are woodland walks, as well as a workshop space for rainy days.


Why is STH beneficial?


It uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.  By using garden tasks, the garden and nature itself, horticultural therapists can build a set of activities for each service user to improve their particular health needs, and to work on certain goals they would like to achieve.



Improving health and wellbeing are at the heart of STH, but new found horticultural knowledge might also encourage people to seek qualifications in the horticulture field, or indeed, the possibility of vocational employment.



The efficacy of STH as an intervention lies in the fact that it touches upon the broadest array of human emotions, experiences and developmental issues. For example, people can readily compare the life-cycles of plants to their own life-cycles. It is important to remember that STH need not be restricted to plants but can encompass the entire ‘natural’ world.


Carlyn Kilpatrick

Whilst working for over 15 years in the voluntary sector, Carlyn completed training in Horticulture and Psychotherapy, and latterly as a Horticultural Therapist. She founded The Nurture Project in 2016 and has seen it develop as more people understand the therapeutic benefits of Green Care.