Conservation Foundation launch Gardening Against the Odds

The Conservation Foundation’s Gardening Against The Odds Awards is once again seeking gardeners who triumph over ‘odds’ to create a garden that improves the lives of others.

They include people with psychological or physical problems who find gardening empowers rather than restricts, where health, space and location are no barriers. There are also gardens created indifficult places. This year a new award is introduced: Young Gardeners Against The Odds.

David Bellamy, Susan Hampshire, the Duchess of Northumberland, Richard Reynolds, The Sunday Telegraph’s Anne Cuthbertson and Francine Raymond and Frank Wilson, husband of Elspeth Thompson, to whose memory the awards are dedicated are judges. New to the judging team this year is Niki Preston, a 2011 award winner.

Winners, guests and nominators will be invited to a Gala ceremony attended by the judges and other gardening celebrities in the Great Conservatory at Syon Park next spring.

For the past two years Alan Titchmarsh has been the guest speaker.

Conservation Foundation director David Shreeve said: "While everyone may say they know that gardening is good for you, we have discovered stories which help create a better understanding of its benefits to hearts and minds and throw down the gauntlet to doctors, social work departments, schools and bureaucrats.

Our gardeners show that many people need prescriptions for trowels not pills and that hands in earth and the experience of being close to growing things can increase healing and well-being, boost confidence, encourage a sense of community and show others a way to change their lives for the better."

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