Text from Flintshire Leader: May 31 2021 (Aaliyah Rugg)

Outside Lives organise 'successful' plant swap initiative to promote positive well-being

A LOCAL project is aiming to create a ‘robust and sustainable’ community for all by promoting positive mental and physical health.

Gardening has a particularly strong link to better mental and physical health, and this is something that is promoted keenly at Outside Lives.

Gwernymynydd based not for profit organisation, Outside Lives Ltd has recently launched a Community Plant and Seed Swap initiative that is now up and running in five sites in the Mold and Wrexham areas.

The initiative, which was launched on Facebook in April after the success of a similar scheme run the previous year, saw five plant table and starter packs made available to members of the community to encourage growing at home and the value of community gardening.

Those wanting to take part had to agree to operate the tables locally over the summer months with the idea being that plants and seeds can be bought for a small donation, or another plant/seed type can be left in their place. Plant swap tables are nothing new, however, the last 12-months of lockdown has seen an important rise in gardening, both on a domestic and community scale.

This was something Outside Lives were keen to maximise as part of their specialist interest ‘DIG IN’ group – an active group of almost 300 individuals with a passion for gardening and growing food.

All donations raised from the plant and seed swap tables are collected in customised ceramic pigs, provided by Spavens in Mold as part of the initiative.

All monies raised from the Plant and Seed Swaps will be split between nominated charities and Outside Lives, the latter enabling future growing activities to be delivered within the community moving forward.

Lucy Powell, Managing Director at Outside Lives Ltd said: “We at Outside Lives are huge advocates for the link between gardening and being outdoors and the positive impact this has on mental and physical wellbeing.

“There is such a strong connection there and it is a major focus for us across the projects we run for and with the local community – both face to face and online.

“The events of the last 12-months have seen a rise in the numbers of people taking to growing at home, be that food or plants. A love of gardening has been reignited with people across the UK and that was something we were also keen to foster.

“We first ran the Plant Swap last summer on a small, local scale, but we would really like to see these become a permanent fixture, for them to be passed around communities moving forward to further encourage people to get involved in sharing their love for gardening and growing food. We really want to keep this wonderful sense of community going.

“The level of support we have received so far has been wonderful – and it’s been fantastic to see children getting involved too.


“This can be a great way of introducing the next generation to the joys of growing your own vegetables and connecting with nature at the same time. There’s some craft, a bit of maths and a little science involved so it’s thoroughly educational too.

“That’s one of the reasons we were so pleased to provide a table to Gwernymynydd School, it’s going to be brilliant to see what they take away from this at the end of the summer.”

Back in 2018, Outside Lives was established to bring together members of the community, connecting people through shared interests and providing carefully curated activities and events designed to support personal wellbeing and growth.

Lucy added: “The Community Plant and Seed Swap initiative has been made possible thanks to funding provided by The Soil Association - Food for Life and is connected to a longer-term commitment to delivering community focused, healthy living initiatives that help navigate challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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