Gardening and Animal Care: Creating a Positive Impact on Young People’s Lives

June 28, 2023


Introducing young people to activities like caring for animals and gardening can have numerous benefits for their overall emotional development and well-being. It’s for this reason First Blue Healthcare encourages the young people in our care to interact with their natural environment and we have some great examples of this from a few of our homes. However, let’s first explore why these activities are so beneficial and how they can positively impact the lives of young people.


Developing Empathy and Responsibility

Looking after animals and gardening teach young people important values such as empathy and responsibility. Caring for a pet or observing the needs of animals in the wild encourages young people to understand the needs and feelings of other living beings. This empathy extends beyond animals and can be transferred to their interactions with people, promoting kindness, and compassion.

Gardening also instills a sense of responsibility as young people learn to nurture plants and understand the importance of providing adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients for their growth. They see the direct results of their efforts, promoting a sense of accomplishment and pride.


Encouraging Outdoor Exploration

Spending time in nature and outdoors has numerous benefits, including improved physical health, increased vitamin D absorption, and reduced stress levels. It also allows young people to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity.


Promoting Physical Activity

Both are physical activities that get young people moving and engaged in healthy exercise. Whether it's walking a dog, cleaning a pet's enclosure, or digging and planting in the garden, these activities promote physical fitness, improve coordination, and contribute to overall well-being.


Encouraging Learning and Skill Development

Tending to animals or looking after a garden provides excellent learning opportunities for young people. Animal care teaches them about different species, their habitats, and their dietary and social needs. It also fosters an understanding of the life cycle and the importance of biodiversity.

Gardening offers numerous educational benefits as young people learn about plant life cycles, the role of pollinators, and the science behind photosynthesis. It also enhances their knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating as they grow and consume their own produce.


Building Patience and Emotional Well-being

With gardening young people learn that not everything happens instantly, and they need to wait for their efforts to bear fruit. This helps build resilience and emotional well-being, as they learn to cope with setbacks, accept failures, and appreciate the rewards of their perseverance. Overall Looking after animals and for example, growing plants requires patience and consistency.

As caregivers, we like the young people in our care to understand animals and engage in outdoor activities such as gardening, which as mentioned are a fantastic way of improving emotional and physical well-being. Very often our homes will have planned activities but not always, as was the case with an injured Sparrow Hawk!


Here’s what’s been happening at some of our homes over the past few weeks:

Bellhurst Cottage to the Rescue

Quick thinking was required when the adults and young people at Bellhurst Cottage had to deal with an injured Sparrow Hawk, which they named Tyson, who was found in the lane near to the home. It was a daring rescue as the poor thing was scared and time was at an essence due to its injuries, plus it was severely dehydrated. Never having been in this situation before, impressively the adults and young people quickly sprang into action and called the local bird rescue center for guidance.

Following the guidance Tyson was taken to the Cottage for an assessment of his injuries and some water; unfortunately, he had broken one of his legs. It was important that a vet was found quickly and after a few phone calls we found a local veterinary hospital who were able to provide the care he needed.

It must be said that the young people involved did a fantastic job, as the situation required them to keep calm in a stressful situation and take positive action. 



Rabbits, Dogs and Plants!

-        Bellhurst Cottage has a tiny pet rabbit called Halo who has not long taken residence in his new palace in the shed. Everyone worked hard to complete it and made sure It includes everything he needs to live a happy life, a big hutch and lots of room to hop around in.

-        Carly House Has two regular visitors, the pugs like nothing more than enjoying chilling out and being pampered, spending most of the time asleep, that is until the young people come home and apparently that’s when they liven up a little!

-        There is a keen gardener at Primrose House. The manager and one of our young people who has an aptitude for growing plants, spent a lovely afternoon planting flowers and building a beautiful space in the garden. Together they have created a garden that can be enjoyed by all throughout the summer.



You can find out more about our homes here.

If you would like to make a difference to the lives of the young people in our care, then we have a range of career opportunities to suit a wide variety of skills, plus excellent career prospects, see our careers page for all vacancies.