Sow the City: Prescribe a Plant Scheme

GMCVO Social Investment investees Sow the City have been working with Cornbrook Medical Practice in Central Manchester on an inspiring new project to prescribe gardening to patients to benefit health and reduce isolation.  They have helped develop the surgery grounds into an engaging space for growing, wildlife and relaxation. 

Cornbrook is prescribing gardening and nature activities to patients to benefit their health and wellbeing and to help tackle social isolation. They have around 13,000 patients on their books, many of whom are socially isolated and have very little access to outdoor space. The garden provides opportunity for local people to learn new skills, take part in physical exercise, get access to healthy and free food and meet new people with covid-secure sessions continuing throughout lockdown.

You can see the project in action in this excellent short film and find out more about the development of this project here.

How to get involved in the scheme

This kind of green prescribing project is more important than ever right now and Sow the City are keen to replicate the success in other GPs and public greenspaces.  The project was low cost to set up and is now maintained by Cornbrook patients and a green-fingered receptionist at the surgery. To find out more and get involved you can contact Sow the City via their referrals system here.

Find out more

Sow the City is a Manchester-based social enterprise with a mission to build a healthier and greener city. They support over 100 community growing projects, offering workshops, events and advice in gardening, nature-based activities, carpentry and DIY.  They cover some of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester and work with a diverse range of marginalised groups e.g. BAME groups, youth services, ex-offenders and those experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental ill-health, disability etc. 

Since 2009 they have provided workshops for 4785 people in self-sufficiency, food growing and cooking and facilitated 2600 volunteering hours. Their projects provide affordable and fresh food, reduce food miles, provide volunteering and employment opportunities and create happier healthier communities.

To visit their website click here.

Sow the City received £41, 900 social investment from GMCVO to help them turn their new premises, the ‘Boiler House’ in Moss Side into a space for local people to be creative, make things and learn new practical skills. Since opening in May 2018, the funding has helped them redevelop the Boiler House by building workshop and events spaces, community rooms and creating new outdoor community growing and composting facilities and it’s great to see them continue to grow and help those in need. 

To find out more about social investment and how it can provide funding to enable you to make a difference, visit 

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