Macmillan Move More Gardening Group Sows Seeds for Success

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New gardening initiative to support people living with cancer takes place in Causeway Coast and Glens.

“We all know that the key to staying fit and active is to find something that you enjoy and want to keep doing”, says Catherine King, Macmillan Move More Coordinator in Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. That’s why Catherine has been working with local fundraising legend and gardening expert, Andrew McClarty, to pilot an exciting new initiative for people living with cancer in the area.

“Our Macmillan Move More programme supports people who are living with cancer to become more active. Physical activity is safe during and after most types of cancer treatment and can help to reduce side effects of treatment, prevent occurrence of other long-term conditions, and reduce the risk of cancer spreading or returning.

“Some people love nothing more than a good class or gym session. For others, that’s not exactly their idea of fun! We have a range of options available to people, from outdoor walks to online pilates, and we’re always looking for ways to introduce people to different types of activities that will meet their individual needs. That’s why Andrew and I decided to work together on the Move More Feel Good Gardening Group. Exercise doesn’t have to be all about the gym – activities like gardening can work wonders for your physical and emotional health too.”

Andrew is well known in the local area. For over two decades he has organised an annual flower sale for Macmillan Cancer Support, raising over £140,000 to date for the cancer charity. His sale is a highly-anticipated festive highlight in the local calendar with lots of wonderful winter plants, wreaths and flowers to purchase. It takes place again this year in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines on 3 and 4 December at 88 Mettican Road, Garvagh.

Andrew loves to bring people together and to share his incredible knowledge of all things gardening. He says, “I’ve been supporting the charity’s work for a long time – Macmillan nurses were a huge support when my father was ill. Working with Catherine to create a new gardening project for people living with cancer has been a delight. I know from many years of experience just how good gardening can be for you. It helps with strength and mobility, can reduce stress, and you get an enormous amount of satisfaction from seeing your work progress.”

Catherine says, “Andrew welcomed us with open arms at his polytunnel where he shared his wealth of knowledge, from roots to shoots, and he organised a range of gardening tasks including how to make up the perfect outdoor planter. We had a superb turn out and the feedback from Move More participants has been amazing. There was a lot of joy and laughter on the day, proof indeed that being active can be great fun!”

To find out more about the Macmillan Move More programme in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area, call Catherine on 07597 399765 or email move.more@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

For support, information, or just a chat, call Macmillan free on 0808 808 0000 or visit macmillan.org.uk

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