Our Growing Together gardens are at the heart of Trust Links.
The Growing Together therapeutic community gardening project provides a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for adults, improving mental health, physical health and wellbeing. Our members enjoy a range of gardening activities and can complete horticulture qualifications.
We have six therapeutic community gardens: Westcliff, Shoeburyness, Rochford, Thundersley, Cressing Temple and Basildon.
I’ve been coming to the gardens since 2013 and I know everyone here – they’re all lovely people, like one big happy family – Fran, Trust Links member
A wide range of activities at Growing Together
As a Growing Together member you can benefit from workshop activities at each site, helping you build confidence and skills. Groups include music, art, yoga, creative writing, woodwork and a women’s group. There is also access to vocational training and employment support.
We believe that everyone has something to contribute, whether you are a keen gardener or you simply enjoy being outdoors. No matter your skills, we’ll work with you to find the best way for you to benefit from the project. Our members include adults with a wide range of mental health conditions, learning disabilities, dementia, physical disabilities, sensory impairments and neurodiverse conditions.
Our members produce wonderful fruit, vegetables and plants, which are then sold at our on-site shops and at our regular community events open to children, young people and families. The gardens have been frequent winners of the Green Flag Awards, Southend in Bloom and Anglia in Bloom competitions, and are also open to the public.
The Growing Together study
In 2021 and 2022, researchers from University of Essex worked with Trust Links to evaluate the impact and outcomes of the Growing Together project. The Evaluation sought to identify the project’s impact on wellbeing, social isolation and life satisfaction. To find out more about the impact of Growing Together, click here!
If you could benefit from the Growing Together project, visit the referral page using the button at the top of this website. Make sure to select ‘Growing Together’.
Westcliff was our founding project site, and over the years we have transformed the one-acre former allotment from an overgrown dumping ground into a productive growing area for fruit and vegetables, Westcliff was our founding project site, and over the years we have transformed the one-acre former allotment from an overgrown dumping ground into a productive growing area for fruit and vegetables, a beautiful flower garden and more.Read more
At Thundersley, we’ve developed a vibrant therapeutic garden that is home to a bee colony, wildlife ponds, raised vegetable beds and so much more. Trust Links Thundersley was developed in partnership with agencies from the South East Essex Sustainability Group and with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.Read more
Since opening in 2013, the Shoeburyness therapeutic gardens have been awarded several Green Flag Community Award for being a tranquil and mindful place for the community in Shoeburyness. Shoeburyness is the home of our Women’s Only Group and our award winning sensory labyrinth.Read more
Our Rochford site features an environmentally-sustainable building, and is a multi-functioning learning centre for people coping with mental health problems, and physical and learning disabilities. Rochford is also the headquarters of REACH Recovery College, where members can enrol in creative workshops and classes designed to help people manage their mental health…Read more
The Trust Links Cressing Temple garden is the newest of our gardens, opening its doors to members in January 2022. Located in the beautiful Cressing Temple grounds, between Braintree and Witham, the large community garden space provides plenty of room for our members to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening…Read more
Growing Together Basildon is currently in development, and will provide members with the chance to connect, benefit from horticultural activities, and access wellbeing support from the expert Trust Links team.Read more