Green Room: Green Health Awards

28/05/2018

Looking back over the last month or so I seem to have spent much of my thinking time making plans for the coming growing season in our garden.

Conditions have been so wet and cold that plans have had to remain on file awaiting for better weather, but then at long last along came the sunshine – time to visit the local garden centre, and to put those plans into action: ‘For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time.’ (Eccles 3:1).

After just two days of hard graft my body is beginning to wonder why it looked forward to getting started on the garden!!

I called at a country pub in the South Tyne valley the other day and before long I became aware of a gentle moaning sound emanating from the men standing at the bar with pint in hand – ‘they’ve all been gardening’ explained the young lady behind the bar.

With gardening very much in the forefront of my mind it was with mixed feelings that I read a recent press release about The Church Times Green Health Awards.

This has been launched in National Gardening Week to promote links between nature and human health and to encourage churches to use their green spaces for the benefit of their local communities.

The scheme is being supported by the Church of England, and the Mercers’ Company, which are patrons of three churches in the Newcastle Diocese. Projects must promote wellbeing (physical or mental) and take place on grounds owned by the church.

Since my appointment as Diocesan Environment Adviser I have been keen to encourage churches to consider how best to use their ‘green’ assets and several have invited me to help them plan how to make use of their churchyards.

As I have said before, going environmental is not simply about abandoning the churchyard to nature but about imaginative and purposeful management.

This Church Times Award builds on the active encouragement which the Church Times Green Church Awards set in train last year and is an opportunity which justifies our serious consideration.

So do please give it some thought – your green space could well provide a life-transforming space for someone.

As my back is telling me, managing a garden is not without hard and painful work but any gardener will tell you that it can be a rewarding experience for yourself and for those who seek an accessible retreat from the stresses and strains of life.

Quoting from the Press Release…“The awards are open to all churches and other Christian organisations in the UK and the deadline for applications is July 31st 2018. For more information, and an entry form, visit www.churchtimes.co.uk/green-health-awards.”

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