The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Lambeth GP Food Co-op garden at Swann Mews where she met the members and volunteers who run the co-operative.
The event marked the sixth anniversary of the community-led co-operative, which began in February 2013 with three gardens in GP surgeries in Lambeth. It builds gardens in GP surgeries to support patients with long-term health conditions.
Camilla also joined patients, doctors, nurses and Lambeth residents for a celebratory reception at Stockwell Community Centre. Set up in June 2018, the garden at Swann Mews is the second garden launched by Lambeth GP Food Co-op in Stockwell – the first was set up in March 2017.
The garden means patients from Grantham surgery can grow vegetables together and un a monthly stall at King’s College Hospital where they sell locally grown vegetables to NHS staff.
Gardening is one of the activities recommended by GPs in social prescribing, a referral system through which GPs help patients engage with community-based activities as a means of improving their health and wellbeing.
Recently, the co-op published a cookbook with the aim of helping to improve the lives of patients while creating community well-being. Inspired by Lambeth’s diverse communities, the book features 28 recipes.
Camilla is also a strong advocate of credit unions, having been a member of London Mutual Credit Union since 2013.
Ed Rosen, director of Lambeth GP Food Co-op, said: “We were delighted to welcome HRH to our sixth birthday celebration yesterday and were especially pleased to present her with a share certificate for membership of the Lambeth GP Food Co-op.
“Dr Michael Dixon, NHS national clinical lead for social prescribing, in a short speech, drew attention to our co-op’s value to the wider NHS community as a model of social prescribing in action.”
In January the government launched NHS Long Term Plan, a 10-year plan which includes measures to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases, and better access to mental health services for adults and children.
It will see GP surgeries work to support each other in around 1,400 Primary Care Networks.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, London regional medical director for primary care and digital transformation, said: “As a part of the NHS Long Term Plan, social prescribing supports people to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them with activities in their own community. The Lambeth GP gardens help people feel less isolated and improves the health of local people living with long term conditions across the borough.”