Photo of Flowers

What is Green Health Reading?

We are a not-for-profit community group.

We exist to help people improve their own health by ‘green’ means - it’s sometimes called ‘Ecotherapy’.

Currently we have one centre in Whitley but eventually we hope to have other sites around Reading.

We are not part of the NHS (though we do accept referrals from them).

What’s the idea?

Studies by MIND (the mental health charity) and others show that people who spend time in a ‘green’ environment get better faster, with benefits to both mental and physical health.

This idea isn’t new – it is long established in several countries and in various parts of the UK.

We have a Horticultural Therapist!

Our Horticultural Therapist

photo of Sara Kopp Meet Sara Kopp - our horticultural therapist.

Sara is currently commissioned by Green Health Reading to research, design and implement the phased development of a project based around the vision of developing a City Farm in Reading for local people within our community. The first phase is designed around health and well-being.

She has always been passionate about nature and the great outdoors and won her first award as an 11 year old for growing sunflowers! She studied landscape architect at Kingston University. Over the years Sara has gained qualifications in care and teaching and has experience in working with clients with learning difficulties and mental health challenges. These experiences have given her deep insights into personal development and a greater understanding of psychology and human behaviour.

One of her main ambitions is to pass on the therapeutic benefits of horticulture and nature to all – especially those at a disadvantage.

She is a strong believer in the power of horticulture to unite and transform both people and places – to provide spaces where friends come together – where communities unite and where nature weaves it magic.

In parallel she has developed and managed numerous community based horticultural therapy projects that have delivered significant benefits to her clients – including projects for Shaw Trust and Reading Borough Council.

Sara worked with Shaw Trust on a project funded by the pioneering mental health charity eco-minds. The project offered horticultural therapy to people challenged with mental health. The project provided a holistic approach to well-being via learning and participating in growing vegetables using organic principles and practices. Clients also learnt how to become self-sustainable by growing organic vegetables for themselves and eating a healthy diet. Introducing much needed nutrients and fibre into their daily diets. Which in itself improves mental health.

Many clients were able to reduce the support they needed from other services and had their medication reduced because of their improved health. Some clients progress into volunteering work, with some moving into horticulture and care.

Link to Sara's Website
Linkedin logo

What We Do

We are normally helped by some volunteers

You may start with one-to-one teaching, and if comfortable, then graduate to small groups (maximum 4)

Our Horticultural Therapist will teach you horticulture skills. Depending on the season here are examples of the skills taught:

Spring

photo of snowdrops depicting months Jan to March
  • Bed Preparation
  • Sowing Seeds
  • Learning about Crop Rotation

Summer

photo depicting months March to September
  • Maintaining and managing crops
  • Harvesting crops (some goes to the food bank to support local people)
  • Caring for wildlife
  • Lawn management
  • Making Compost

Autumn

photo depicting months Sep to Nov
  • Tool Use
  • Risk assessments
  • Training in horticultural skills
  • Pruning and cuttings

Winter

photo depicting months Nov to Dec
  • Nutrition
  • Soft skills (Life skills)
  • Wildlife habitats

How to Join In

photo of Empty gardening pots

Come for a morning

Come for an afternoon

Come once a week or twice a week

We aren't rigid about how many sessions you come to

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Are you being referred?

If you are being referred by a health worker or someone else, we’d like them to complete a standard referral form for you.
Download the form here

Real Stories

You learn so much. It’s so nice and healthy to be out in the fresh air and I love plants and Sara is so good to learn from. - (JH)

It makes you think about something different and apart from the cold the fresh air’s brilliant. Watching what you’ve planted grow and eating it is amazing. It’s come from nothing but a tiny thing. I can’t wait to see it (the garden) fill up. It’s helped me socially. - (RR)

It made me enjoy flowers and vegetables especially. It made me know the difference between the different types of vegetables, names of flowers and vegetables I didn’t know. - (SG)

It’s given me experience of gardening and woodwork. I like digging and growing best. - (SH)

Photo Gallery

Bed of Flowers
Man and woman with flowers
Flower Pots
Flowers with a White Fence
White Fence with Flowers
Some more flower pots
People in front of flower pots

How to Find Us

Currently we have one centre in Whitley but eventually we hope to have other sites around town.

Our Address:

Well Centre
Dawlish Road
Whitley
RG2 7SD

The nearest bus stops are for bus numbers:

  • 5
  • 6
  • 6a

Buses run from Station Road in the Town Centre.

Car Parking is available on-site.

map of Whitley with bus stops marked out

Contact Us