Nightingale Community Garden

Nightingale Community Garden in Cambridge has been the home of three pilot 'Gardening for Health' groups funded by the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund.

As of October 2016 we are currently awaiting news of funding for more Gardening for Health groups. You are welcome to get in touch to express your interest and we will keep you updated.

Who is it for?

Gardening for Health is aimed at Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire residents aged 19 or over who may be experiencing psychological distress, physical health problems such as diabetes, chronic pain, cancer or obesity, or those approaching retirement who are at risk of developing dementia. We work in small mixed groups of only 8 learners.

Where does it happen? 

We are based at Nightingale Park, near Addenbrookes Hospital, where we are steadily helping to turn a disused bowling green into a community garden. More info here:

We will also help out in some of Cambridge's many inspirational community gardens, and visit many public and private gardens and garden centres. Once in a while we'll head out of Cambridge and explore other gardens too. Whatever the weather, even in the depths of winter we will have places to go and things to do! 

Volunteering and Employment

There is a real skills shortage of  gardeners locally. Skills acquired through Gardening for Health could become your starting point to a rewarding new career or volunteering placement. 

We have placed volunteers with the City Rangers, at Fulbourn Hospital, continuing at Nightingale Park and within Grow Places too. We have had offers of voluntary placements from Madingley Hall and Anglesey Abbey too.

One of our participants has now set up his own gardening round, and two more have planned to start their own businesses. 

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." Steve Jobs

Louise's story

Here's a recorded interview with one of our gardeners. I asked her to tell me about how things were for her before joining the group, what her experience of the group was like, and how things were for her afterwards. This is what she told me:

How much does it cost?

Free, thanks to funding from the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund! 

What will we learn from each other?

A wide range of gardening skills including fruit and vegetable growing, maintaining ornamental borders and lawns, garden design, pruning, and conservation. We'll try propagation, old-school scything, surveying and willow-weaving too!

We'll also learn about mindfulness, self-confidence, pacing yourself, assertiveness, literacy, numeracy and IT, working as a team member, and many other transferrable skills. 

And we'll also have a lot of fun!

You can refer yourself to Gardening for Health - here's how:

Click here for a self-referral form that you can complete and email back to us.

Click here for a self-referral form that you can print off and post back to us.

We'll arrange to meet you and discuss how we might be able to help. We require health information solely to ensure we can safely tailor the programme to individual needs. Please ensure your tetanus vaccinations are up to date.

Return to:


Post: Referrals, Grow Places, Suite 37, Middle Court, Copley Hill Business Park, Cambridge Road, Babraham, Cambs. CB22 3GN. 

All information in this form will be treated in the strictest confidence and stored securely according to the Data Protection Act 1998

MYCAW (Measure Yourself Concerns And Wellbeing)

We encourage all learners to monitor their own progress throughout the course using the MYCAW (Measure Yourself Concerns And Wellbeing) questionnaire, developed by Dr Charlotte Paterson, Institute of Health Services Research, University of Exeter. 

Click here for details