We work with Adult Social Care and other services to provide a person centred approach by using therapeutic horticulture to individuals needing support.

We accept direct referrals and also help to transition adults from day care centres into volunteering, mentoring and/or employment.

There are so many people in day care centres who have many skills and abilities and we will work with individuals who want other opportunities along with Adult Social Care by looking at their abilities rather than their disabilities and seeing the person inside.


Incredible Edible Knowsley work with diverse group of people and work on a person-centred approach using therapeutic horticulture. Our project encourages the improvement on health, wellbeing and mental health on many levels.

Horticulture with IEK offers an alternative to day care centres as we provide a project that empowers people to focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities. When people are involved in activities, they become less aware of their disability.

If a person becomes involved in this project and works on an unloved patch of land that has been left to overgrow which they then clear up and turn it into a vegetable patch producing edible food it will then create a positive effect on their psyche on self believe.

It helps people to recognise that they can have an influence on their own environment, which will help them to find personal growth and enjoyment.
Being involved in horticulture is therapy as it improves the health and wellbeing towards so many people as well as benefiting their needs. Just some of the groups of people it can benefit are:

  • Adults and young people with learning disabilities
  • Adults and young people with disabilities
  • Adults and young people suffering with mental health
  • People in deprived areas or living with daily challenges
  • Children and young people in alternative education
  • Elderly living in the community or in long-term care or attending day care centres
  • Refugee and asylum seekers
  • People in need of rehabilitation
  • Families who are struggling

Some of the ways in which IEK encourages this


Physical Benefits


Being out in the garden, digging, weeding, growing are all excellent all-round activities that are another form of exercise. Our project can be created to improve fine and/or gross motoring skills.

Physical activity is automatically a part of horticulture, for example, walking around the garden watering food that is growing, is a natural part of the routine. Physical exercise is more fun when it is purposeful and having more fun means more exercise. Just some of the physical benefits when using our project are:


  • Enhance sensory skills and stimulates all senses
  • Boost stamina
  • Being physically active - exercise
  • Increase eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills
  • Vitamin D from the sun
  • Extends flexibility
  • Increase in blood circulation reducing blood pressure
  • More resistant to injuries and diseases
  • Rehabilitation
  • Fitness & burning calories
  • Muscle toning
  • Improves strength, endurance and flexibility
  • Improves hand to eye coordination and motor skills
  • Promotes a good night’s sleep

Mental & Emotional Benefits


One benefit to engaging in horticulture is an improvement in confidence and self-esteem. It can meet the needs of people with different levels of ability as horticulture can provide activities that are enjoyable and useful to virtually anyone. Growing food, watching it grow and being able to create something are all aspects of building a healthy sense of self.

Activities can be created to improve creativity and expressiveness. The physical involvement such as digging, raking or weeding can be good ways in redirecting aggressive behaviour. Some of the mental/emotional benefits when using our project are:


  • Reduction in stress and mental fatigue
  • Improves mood and increases confidence & self-esteem
  • Increased pride in what has been achieved
  • Inspires hope and helps to clear the mind
  • Ability to express and control emotions
  • Has a calming and healing affect
  • Helps the body to regulate balance of chemicals in the brain
  • It helps to reduce the level of stress hormone cortisol
  • Soil contains a natural anti-depressant that can make people happier
  • One study shown that gardening can reduce dementia by 35%
  • Enhance memories
  • Improves decision making
  • Ability to express and control emotions
  • Calming and healing affect
  • Stimulates senses such as smell and touch


Social Benefits


Horticulture can deliver a wide range of activities for people no matter what their abilities. This project can help to improve people’s social skills as horticulture offers many opportunities for social interaction. The activities can be completed in groups, which help in working together; sharing and communicating well are natural parts of the process.

Whilst working in this project people will learn social skills that are suitable for the work place. Growing food provides a way for people to create something that they can then pass on to others, opening them up to another aspect of social interaction. Some of the social benefits when using our project are:


  • Development of social and intellectual skills
  • Reduction in isolation and loneliness
  • Encourages communication & listening skills
  • Creativity – being able to express oneself
  • Nurturing responsibility
  • Builds confidence and self-esteem

Health Benefits


Growing food encourages more people of all ages to eat a healthier diet. If someone has grown some vegetables they are going to want to eat it, which opens them up to the experience of fresher foods, foods they may not have even tried before. People will experience how much better the food tastes when it has just come from the ground to how it tastes when it has been shop bought. Some of the health benefits when using our project are:


  • Food that offers more flavour and better nutrition
  • Avoiding pesticides and genetically modified foods
  • Improves overall wellbeing
  • Healthy food production
  • Those who grow food are more conscious about a healthier diet
  • Direct exposure to dirt and plants can help to boost the immune system
  • Eating fresh food helps to reduce obesity


Cognitive Educational Benefits


At IEK we offer opportunities for people to learn. We provide skills that can lead to future employment, as each person who engages in our project will be taught the skills needed. We will offer training to those who would like to take this opportunity further and the chance to go on to achieve some qualifications in horticulture, starting from entry level and then be given the opportunity to take further courses increasing their qualifications.

We will offer peer-mentoring roles to people who have come through our service and hopefully employment once the project expands. Some of the educational and employment benefits when using our project:


  • Increase language and vocational skills
  • Increase ability to focus and engage
  • Increase memory
  • Express creativity
  • Follow directions
  • Increase horticulture knowledge and provide qualifications
  • Increase knowledge on the growing of food and its health benefits
  • Ability to think clearly and critically and problem solving abilities
  • Acquiring new skills bringing future employment
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Gives a purpose of focus

Therapeutic Horticulture


IEK offers a healing and therapeutic activity that engages all people no matter what their background, age or ability. We also bring people together helping those who are in disadvantaged and/or troubled communities.

Being in the outdoors growing food as an activity creates a feeling of tranquillity due to the combination of fresh air and the physicality of the activity as it helps to oxygenate the bloodstream and energies the physical body whilst at the same time releasing endorphins that relief stress

Our project involves using all of our senses such as sight, sound, smell and touch; feeling the textures of soil and the emotional satisfaction of a harvest. It can provide a deeper side in a sense of belonging or a realisation of an inner connection and a feeling of spiritual and/or emotional peace.