Study flags concern for health and wellbeing of people working in horticulture

While gardens, gardening and visiting a garden have many agreed health benefits, for those whose career depends on them remaining fit and healthy to complete sometimes hard and heavy work as professional gardeners and horticulturist, it can be a less than healthy existence. Often self-employed and working long hours, the National Garden Scheme recognises the importance of supporting those working in the horticultural industry – the people that make many of our gardens great – when they fall on hard times. Since 1986, the National Garden Scheme has donated over £1.9 million to Perennial – making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people who are working, or have worked, in the horticulture industry in the UK, and their families.

Recent research conducted by Perennial flags concern for the health and wellbeing of people working in horticulture and makes recommendations of how we can build a better horticultural community.

The findings of research, commissioned by Perennial in 2021 to develop an understanding of health and wellbeing across the horticultural community have shown that 81% of people generally feel good about their health. However, many are facing significant physical and mental wellbeing challenges that do not equate with good health.

The findings are based on the combined results of Perennial’s Health & Wellbeing Survey (2021), the Horticultural Labour Market Research (2021) and the Wellbeing Kiosk Results (2019).

The number of people in the industry with poor mental wellbeing is above the UK’s national average – 85% of people’s mental wellbeing was found to be poor or below average. Over three quarters of people are experiencing aches and pains, with back and joint pain being prevalent – 78% of respondents had experienced back and joint pain in the last six weeks.

33% only seek help when they believe that they’re really ill. Yet, a delay in seeking care could lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment, living in pain for longer and/or a deterioration in their condition.

Julia Hayne, Director of Services at Perennial, says: “Through the inaugural Horticulture Wellbeing Survey (2021), Labour Market Research (2020) and Wellbeing Kiosk results (2019) we are building a picture of the health and wellbeing of the industry. There is a significant gap between individuals’ perceived and actual state of health and wellbeing. More awareness around good health and wellbeing is needed to prevent serious problems in the future.”

The research provides the industry with an insight into the causes and impact of poor wellbeing. It highlights how individuals across the sector feel about their health and the issues that are important to them which include their physical and mental wellbeing, finances, careers and training.

To truly build better futures for the whole horticultural community, Perennial encourages a shared understanding by the industry of the real and perceived challenges people are facing. As well as collaboration to develop sustainable solutions which support the key recommendations:

  1. Help the horticulture community to understand good health and wellbeing
  2. Encourage the horticulture community to build healthier lives and adopt positive routines
  3. Build a culture of wellbeing
  4. Develop our knowledge base

The full findings from Perennial’s research are available by clicking here

For more on our support of Perennial’s work click here

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