Exciting news for the care sector today the announcement is made that Growing Support has merged with the charity Alive. Since 2014 Growing Support has specialised in social and therapeutic gardening and, like Alive, works with older people in care. Both Bristol-based organisations have made a huge splash in the care sector in their own right and are widely recognised as driving forwards innovative approaches to improving the wellbeing of older people in care. They successfully tackle issues of loneliness, isolation and depression through delivery of activity workshops, projects and training care staff.
By joining forces through this merger, Alive and Growing Support combine years of expertise, as well as unique and complementary approaches to improving later life for older people in care. The organisations have worked closely over the past year on projects that empower older people to direct and design rich activity programmes that connect them more closely with each other and their community, with great success.
Growing Support’s Director Dale Cranshaw said “We undertook a strategic review earlier in the year and reached the conclusion that given the continued difficult funding environment in the care sector and a general trend towards consolidation we should give serious consideration to merging with another organisation. We approached a number of organisations with a similar strategic fit and values and were pleased to receive a very positive response. After shortlisting and due diligence, Growing Support chose Alive”.
“Growing Support was set up to tackle loneliness, social isolation and inactivity through social and therapeutic horticulture activities, training and consultancy. There is so much cross over with the objectives, outcomes and values of Alive that we have always be keen to work closely together. I am delighted that Growing Support has merged with Alive so that the work we started will continue to thrive and offer valued support to the people we work with.” Dale Cranshaw
“Growing Support has a fantastic reputation in the care sector, the work fits so well with what Alive offer and with the direction in which we’re headed: in Alive’s consultations with care home residents they tell us regularly that they desperately want to get outdoors more often. Alive are constantly striving to increase the number of older people we reach, broadening the range of activities that we offer to meet people’s interests and needs, so when Growing Support’s Directors approached Alive with a view to a merger, it was a golden opportunity”. Simon Bernstein, Alive CEO
Growing Support’s remarkable legacy will carry on under Alive. It will help to further increase older people’s access to nature and the outdoors, in ways which give them purpose and a chance to socialise and have fun.
“The health and wellbeing benefits of outdoor activities are well-recognised and yet reportedly, older people in UK care homes spend an average of just 4 minutes per month outdoors. This is less than HM prisoners, who have access to fresh air for an hour every day. This is a scandal and a tragedy, one which Alive will be at the forefront of challenging in the future.” Simon Bernstein, Alive CEO
In future years, Alive will build capacity to offer and run more social and therapeutic horticulture activities across the South and South West of England, where the charity currently operates. Older people in care will have more opportunities to take part in enriching outdoors and nature-based activities such as; growing fruit, vegetables and flowers, observing wildlife in their garden spaces and being creative through nature-based crafts.