AN ALLOTMENT owner has been announced as a national charity’s ambassador, following years of work to promote gardening as a tool for improving wellbeing.

Blogger, writer and speaker Annabelle Padwick from Wallingford is hoping to plant seeds of inspiration for others suffering with mental health issues in her new role with the organisation Thrive.

Originally from Oxford, Miss Padwick founded the popular blog ‘Life at No. 27’ after her own struggles with anxiety and going outside during her early and mid-20s.

The 30-year-old sees gardening as therapeutic, having experienced mental health problems since the age of 21 and promoting the benefits of gardening since 2015.

She has been sharing her story through the blog and speaking at various events, including BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

She said: “Gardening changed my life and it was the thing that helped me that the doctor could not prescribe.”

Originally from Oxford, she now also has a radio show and YouTube channel, but says that having her own event at Gardeners’ World Live was a ‘dream come true’, adding that she was touched that an eight-year-old girl, who watched her speak, now has more self belief.

Miss Padwick now wants to make Life at No. 27 a social enterprise and expand nationwide.

The allotment owner said she began to see the effects of her recovery aged 26, and added that she was already a ‘huge supporter’ of small national charity Thrive, which primarily encourages disabled people to garden.

Thrive CEO Kathryn Rossiter added: “Annabelle is already a strong supporter of Thrive, so we are delighted that she joins our current Ambassadors celebrity TV gardener and Chartered Horticulturist David Domoney, and Kent-based Mark Lane, who is the UK’s first wheelchair garden designer and BBC garden TV presenter.”

“Annabelle’s personal experiences mean that she completely understands the benefits of gardening and the difference it can make to people’s health and wellbeing, especially to those living with a disability, long-term health condition or mental health issue.

“We join Annabelle in inspiring the next generation of gardeners. It’s improving mental health, experiencing better physical health, connecting with others, acquiring new skills, and enjoying the great outdoors.”