The value of an allotment group for refugees

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Introduction: Refugees experience a number of difficulties when settling in the United Kingdom and may be faced with occupational injustice due to their restricted occupational engagement. This study explores the value of an allotment group for refugees of working age, aiming to explore the role of horticulture and the social environment on health, wellbeing and social inclusion.

Method: This was an exploratory study using qualitative methodology based on ethnographic principles. Data collection included observation of the group, semi-structured interviews with five participants, with four of these participants also taking part in photo-elicitation interviews. Data analysis involved using a 'framework' approach to produce three themes and associated sub-themes.

Findings: Analysis identified firstly gardening as a meaningful activity; secondly, the importance of the social environment and, lastly, the value of occupational engagement for refugees. Further theoretical analysis led to the conclusion that these themes linked to the dimensions of occupation: doing, being, belonging and becoming.

Conclusion: The findings identify how occupational engagement can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of refugees, specifically with the use of social and therapeutic horticulture.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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