Jemma is currently working on a Welsh Government funded project lead by Dr Deborah Clayton which is titled 'Growing a Healthy Older Population in Wales' (GHOP) and will run until July 2013.
The GHOP project is a collaboration between Cardiff Metropolitan University's Schools of Sport and Health Sciences and Cardiff University's School of City and Regional Planning. The project is supported by the Public Health Improvement Research Network.
This research project is exploring how allotment and community gardening projects may benefit older people’s physical and psychological health, as well as how they may also offer wider benefits for the community, such as community regeneration. As the waiting lists for traditional allotment plots are currently very long, we are interested in comparing the benefits of this activity to gardening on community-based gardening projects as these are usually more easily accessible and may offer similar benefits.
Over the last 12 months, an extensive scoping study involving local stakeholders has taken place and has lead to the development of a robust methodology for evaluating the wide ranging benefits of allotment and community gardening activity. The impact of participation in gardening activity will be measured using psychological and physiological tools. Participants’ feelings about their experience and what participating in gardening activity means for them will also be explored through semi-structured interviews. The research will, therefore, establish the role that allotment and communal gardening could play in healthy ageing.
The main aims of the project are to:
- Evaluate the potential role of community and allotment gardening for promoting healthy ageing in the over 50s.
- Develop a methodology for evaluating the impact of community and allotment gardening for older people.
For more information on the GHOP project please go to: http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/ghop
- Hawkins, J.L., Mercer, J., Thirlaway, K.J. & Clayton, D. (in press) ‘Doing’ Gardening and ‘Being’ at the Allotment Site: Exploring the benefits of allotment gardening for stress reduction and healthy ageing. Ecopsychology.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Backx, K. & Clayton, D. (2011) Allotment gardening and other leisure activities for stress reduction and healthy aging. HortTechnology, 21: 577-585
Current Research Projects
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2012) Evaluating the impact of allotment and community gardening for older people's health and well-being. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 20, S101.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2012) Gardening as a leisure activity for healthy ageing. 12th World Leisure Congress: 30, September 2012.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2012) Green exercise: Gardening and healthy ageing. Getting to the Grassroots, 8th Annual Symposium of HEPA Europe: 26, September 2012.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2012) The benefits of allotment and community gardening for healthy ageing. International People Plant Symposium: 6, September 2012.
- Hawkins, J.L. (2012). Growing a Healthy Older Population: The benefits of allotment gardening. Cardiff Metropolitan University AA Annual Poster Symposium, March 2012.
- Clayton, D., Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P (2011) Growing a Healthy Older Population in Wales, 1st International Well-being Conference, Birmingham 18-19 July 2011.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2011) Healthy ageing and outdoor lifestyle activities. OPENSpace Research Network Conference: Open Space, People Space: 3, June 2011.
- Hawkins, J., Thirlaway, K., Backx, K. & Clayton, D. (2011) The benefits of outdoor activities for older people’s wellbeing. All Wales Mental Health Promotion Network Annual Conference: Maintaining Mental Health and Wellbeing in Adversity, February 2011.
- Hawkins, J.L. (2011) A statistics revision tool for improving student confidence levels. UWIC AA Annual Poster Symposium: Developing Researchers Beyond Research, February 2011.
- Hawkins, J., Thirlaway, K., Backx, K. & Clayton, D. (2010) Healthy Ageing: The benefits of outdoor activities for psychological and physical health. UKPHA 18th Annual Public Health Forum, Bournemouth, March 2010.
- Hawkins, J.L., Thekkemuryil, L., & Warner, J.L. (2009) Ageing Research Project: A multidisciplinary case study. Diabetes Research Network Meeting, UWIC Cardiff, Dec 2009.
- Hawkins, J.L. (2009) Healthy Ageing: The effect of outdoor activities on psychological and physical health. PSYPAG Annual Conference, Cardiff, July 2009.
- Hawkins, J.L. (2009) Healthy Ageing, Psychological Stress and Outdoor Physical Activity: A cross-sectional study. DECIPHer Launch Event, May 2009, Cardiff University.
Completed Research Projects
- 2011-2013 Growing a Healthy Older Population in Wales. National Institute for Health and Social Care (Social Care Award), £150,424, Co-Investigators: Dr. Jenny Mercer, Dr Kathryn Thirlaway, Dr Karianne Backx, Dr Debbie Clayton (Cardiff Met), Prof. Paul Milbourne (Cardiff University).
- 2008-2011 Impact of lifestyle and nutrition on molecular and cellular markers of ageing: A mentoring approach to develop new researchers and foster an interdisciplinary approach, UWIC Academic Development Fund. £270,902, Co-Investigators Prof. J Erusalimsky, Prof A. Peters, Dr D. Clayton, Dr N. Rushmere, Dr P. Hewlett (Cardiff Met).
Dr Jemma Hawkins was awarded a PhD from the University of Wales in July 2012, she has been working in the field of Health Psychology research since 2008 within the School of Health Sciences. Previously, Jemma gained clinical experience working for three years as a Mental Health Worker for a Primary Care Trust, and also through volunteer opportunities with several mental health and health promotion projects.
Jemma’s research interests lie in the fields of Health Psychology and Healthy Ageing, she is particularly interested in the benefits of outdoor activity for healthy ageing. Her current research is exploring the health and well-being benefits of allotment and community gardening activity in later life. She primarily uses a range of psychosocial and physiological measures of health and well-being, and employs both quantitative and qualitative research techniques and analysis.
Jemma has teaching responsibilities in the following areas:
- MSc Research Methods
- Health Sociology