ISBN: 9781909067080

PoLLeN People, Life, Landscape and Nature: An Evaluation

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Bungay H, Clift S

Year of Publication:

Canterbury Christ Church University, Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

Publication Type:


Between 2011 and 2012, the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health led an evaluation on the PoLLeN project.

PoLLeN (People, Life, Landscape and Nature) is a social and therapeutic horticulture project for adults with direct experience of mental distress. The project began at the Bromley by Bow Centre in early 2010 and its central aim is to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of individuals through engagement with the natural environment. Key activities include vegetable growing, flower cultivation and garden maintenance, plus creative activities using elements of landscape and nature (pottery).

Specific objectives pursued by PoLLeN are to: improve mental wellbeing; improve physical health; reduce stigma associated with mental health; improve social networks and social inclusion; develop new skills; enable access to a range of volunteering, training and employment opportunities.

The main aim of this evaluation was to assess the extent to which PoLLeN was successful in improving the mental wellbeing of participants engaging in horticultural and creative activities, with some attention given to the specific objectives listed above. A mixed methods research approach was employed to collect data via WEMWBS, written feedback from participants, a bespoke questionnaire and semi-structured interviews.

A limitation of the current evaluation arises from the fact that it was not planned prior to the setting up of PoLLeN and consequently participants were not followed through the process from their initial referral and engagement with the project. For this reason, suitable baseline data were not gathered which could have provided a point of comparison over time to judge the extent to which participants’ mental wellbeing had improved.
That said, the qualitative data supports the conclusion that PoLLeN has been highly successful in its approach. Tangible benefits reported by participants include: a sense of structure and purpose; learning new skills and knowledge, and above all social support from peers and skilled and empathic professionals.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Adults

Art Forms: Crafts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Clift S., Bungay H. (2013) PoLLeN. People, Life, Landscape and Nature: An Evaluation. Canterbury: Canterbury Christ Church University, Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health