Glaslyn Leisure Centre in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, North Wales, is part of Wales’ national exercise referral scheme, where GPs prescribe exercise for those who have a chronic disease or are at risk of developing one.

Glaslyn joined the exercise referral scheme in 2008. In 2012, staff and volunteers set up a community garden outside the leisure centre to grow fruit and vegetables. This was to enable those who dislike or cannot use the gym or swim to have an alternative activity out in the open air. They also learn about how to grow their own and about the different fruits and vegetables and how they can cook them. It is a very sociable venture used by people with various illnesses, both mental and physical.

Glaslyn Leisure Centre before the green space transformation
Glaslyn Leisure Centre before the green space transformation. All rights reserved.
Glaslyn Leisure Centre garden
Glaslyn Leisure Centre garden, after the garden was created. All rights reserved.

A participant, who is bi-polar said: “I came hoping to get interested in gardening and got interested in the people.” He particularly appreciates that, unlike a drop-in centre for people with mental health problems, there is no stigma coming to use a garden that anyone can access. An added benefit is that it has improved the appearance of the leisure centre immensely.

Glaslyn Leisure Centre joined the NHS Forest in 2014, planting two wild cherries at 2 o’clock on NHS Sustainability Day. It was chosen as site of the month for June 2014, to highlight the diverse and innovative ways and places in which sustainable healthcare can operate.

In 2019, school children from Ysgol Borth y Gest planted 105 trees sponsored by The Great Outdoor Gym Company.

School children plant trees as Glaslyn in 2019
School children plant trees as Glaslyn in 2019. All rights reserved.
Glaslyn Leisure Centre community garden
Glaslyn Leisure Centre community garden. Photo: Chris Eastwood. All rights reserved.

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