The Healing Power of Nature

Jane, our Counselling and Bereavement Service Manager, tells us about a new bereavement group for men. It is a morning a week on a beautiful allotment in Hove, where men can come and help us with the daily jobs on a busy allotment… whether it is spring, summer, autumn or winter.

This time of year can be particularly difficult for those who have recently had someone close to them die. The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. The leaves are falling off the trees and everyone is preparing for winter.

It is at this time of year that people tend to go indoors away from the colder weather and the early dark evenings. This can become a more isolated and lonely time when someone is full of pain and grief. That is why we have set up a new group, specifically for men, where they can come and meet other men in a similar situation to them.

Earthworks: Bereavement Allotment Group for Men

The morning starts with a cup of tea in the allotment shed and for those cooler days, the wood burner is lit to keep everyone toasty and warm. Katie, who leads the group, has a list of jobs which can range from a bit of weeding to planting out leeks or harvesting the last of the tomatoes.

Something for everyone

The men do not necessarily need to know anything about gardening and we invite them to do whatever it is that interests them. There is something for everyone and if someone has a bad back they do not need to dig the earth or bend down, whilst someone else may want to get stuck into clearing the last of the pumpkin crop.

Sharing Moments

It is a great feeling, returning to the allotment and seeing the progress of the seeds in the greenhouse that have been sown a few weeks earlier. The other day the group harvested the last of the raspberries and ate them together, whilst talking and sharing their different stories: of gardening; of family; of memories of their loved one; a mix of both sad and happy times, and looking towards the next season and planning what to grow and where.

How to get involved

We have some spaces for bereaved men so if you know of anyone who may be interested please contact the Patient and Family Support Administrator on 01273 273400 and one of the team will give them a call.

Further Information

During a lengthy illness, following the funeral, or sometimes long after the death of a loved one grief may become more than you are able or willing to handle. There are services and support which can help you through this time.

Anyone whose loved one was cared for by the Martlets is very welcome to make contact with our Bereavement Service by calling 01273 273400 or emailing

Earthworks, in partnership with Plot 22, is funded by Hospice UK

Useful Services and information:  

Cruse Bereavement Service 

Cruse offer a bereavement helpline to give support as you need it in addition to their website where you can also find resources on how to support your child.

0808 808 1677

Winston’s Wish  

Winston’s Wish has a wealth of resources and advice on how to support your child through bereavement, whilst also dealing with your own grief. They also have a free phone helpline you can call.

08088 020 021

Childhood Bereavement UK 

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.