Therapeutic Horticulture and Therapeutic Agriculture

Hayes, Tracy ORCID logo ORCID: and Christie, Mark ORCID logo ORCID: (2021) Therapeutic Horticulture and Therapeutic Agriculture. In: BERA Annual Conference 2021, 1316 September 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

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Whilst many young people are well and thrive in society, some find that home and school life is challenging. Schools are facing unprecedented challenges in meeting the needs of young people with ever-diminishing resources. Educational policy has failed to close the gap between pupils with different socioeconomic status; exclusion/NEET figures remain high. Additionally, 12-23% of young people experience a mental health issue in adolescence, and only one in three receive help (WHO, 2019) - responses to the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated this. This has highlighted the importance of educating therapeutically to support the wellbeing of all young people, but especially those who may be perceived as vulnerable and/or at risk of exclusion from school. Access to education is an equal human right for all children and young people, yet it is far from equitable (OECD, 2017). Young people who do not do well in schools may be referred to out-of-school settings for support. The recent health and
social policy emphasis on social prescribing in addition to school referrals, has led to increasing numbers of referrals to such projects and services.
Consequently, it is important to understand how and why they may be beneficial to young people. In this symposium we will explore the use of outdoor spaces for educating therapeutically (Sempik et al.2006/2014), drawing on empirical research into therapeutic agriculture (TA e.g. care farming) and therapeutic horticulture (TH e.g. gardening). This includes considering how to work collaboratively to bring skills and knowledge from NHS/health into outdoor spaces for educational purposes. We do this through three individual papers, providing case studies of research into educating therapeutically outdoors, followed by a panel discussion on participatory methods for researching TA/TH.

Therapeutic Horticulture and Agriculture in educational spaces - This action-research, rapid ethnographic project aims to improve health and care services for young people across the North of England, through an exploration of therapeutic horticulture (TH) and therapeutic agriculture (TA) projects in three different settings. It uses a mixed-method case study approach, with qualitative and quantitative, primary and secondary data from a range of perspectives (staff, young people, volunteers), which is analysed with descriptive statistics to identify levels of activity (e.g. referrals, joiners, drop-outs etc.), thematic analysis of qualitative interviews and visual analysis of photographs to understand perceived opportunities and challenges in the projects. These triangulated views will inform theory of change modelling to identify ‘what’ happens in these settings and ‘how’ they have benefitted the young people who attended. We will share preliminary findings from this ongoing study to consider if/how this form of ‘care’ supports marginalised young people.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Health > Rehabilitation and Sport Science
Institute of Health > Social Work, Children and Families
Institute of Science and Environment > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Tracy Hayes
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2021 13:52
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 12:32


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