August 19, 2017

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Singer and gardener Kim Wilde fronts TV appeal in aid of Thrive

For 80s pop star Kim Wilde, the roller-coaster of a career in the music industry career had started to take its toll on her mental health. She credits gardening with helping her find balance in her life and regain confidence.

Kim now wants more people to realise the powerful benefits gardening can have and will be hosting April’s BBC Lifeline Appeal on behalf of the charity Thrive, which uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who are living with disabilities or ill health, or those who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

“I really believe in the benefits of being outdoors in a living, breathing garden. That’s why I think the work of Thrive is so important,” said Kim.

“When I was 30 I was enjoying a successful music career, with platinum records and a European tour with Michael Jackson under my belt. I decided the time was right to lay down some roots and I moved into a 16th century barn that I renovated and treasured. To the outside world all seemed wonderful, but I was always plagued with anxiety and it badly affected my mental health.

“One in four of us will experience issues with our mental health. Gardening really can help. It has been great therapy for me and can help people get back on top of things and restore balance when it feels like life is veering out of control.”

Improving good health and wellbeing is at the heart of the work of Thrive, a national charity with gardens in Reading, London, Birmingham and Gateshead, and the breadth of their work is incredible.

Using gardening to help people in this way is known as social and therapeutic horticulture, and there are many benefits….for example, the chance for people to learn and develop new skills in gardening and growing food. This knowledge leads to an increase in confidence and self-esteem and for some, the chance, like Trevor who features in the BBC appeal, to take a qualification in horticulture.

Gardening can also make you fitter and healthier – Thrive’s Patron Sir Richard Thompson, former President of the Royal College of Physicians, advocates this.

Thrive works with a wide range of people. People who have injuries from accidents; people with a learning impairment; people with a mental illness; people with a physical impairment such as sight or hearing loss; people with age-related conditions such as dementia, heart problems, diabetes or stroke; young people who have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties and people who have ill health after leaving the armed forces.

Thrive also carries out research in social and therapeutic horticulture and has bought together a lot of evidence to show how gardening brings about great changes. To spread this knowledge, Thrive runs training courses for anyone interested in using horticulture to help themselves, and others, improve health and wellbeing.

Kim, who is Patron of a horticultural social enterprise called Waste Not Want Not, near her home in Hertfordshire, added: “I am so impressed by the work of Thrive and hope you can support this Lifeline Appeal so they can continue to use gardening and horticulture to help vulnerable people feel better and gain valuable life skills.”

Thrive’s BBC Lifeline Appeal also features the stories of Mel Porter and Trevor Burke and will air on Sunday April 19 at 2pm on BBC 1. It will be repeated on Wednesday April 22 at 11.50am on BBC 2.

The programme is available to watch on the BBC website shortly after broadcast on April 19 www.bbc.co.uk/lifeline

#BBCLifeline

Ways to donate:

Online: www.bbc.co.uk/lifeline

Phone: 0800 011 011 (Calls are free from most landlines. Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls)

BBC donation lines open mid-day on April 16 until May 14.

TEXT: You can also donate £10 by texting DONATE to 70121. Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge and the whole £10 goes to the Thrive. Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

POST: Please make your cheque payable to Thrive and send it to: Freepost

BBC Lifeline Appeal

Please make sure you write ‘Thrive’ on the back of the envelope.

If you want Thrive to claim Gift Aid, please include an email or postal address so that they can send you a Gift Aid form.

Kim Wilde at Thrive by Simon Kemp

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