Mind in Haringey have been running a gardening group at Station House on Stapleton Hall Road for the past two years. The purpose of the group is to improve the well-being of people living with mental ill-health by being out in the garden growing fruit and vegetables.
It has proven to be a very successful group and many of the members feel that it has had a positive impact on their mental health through the social interaction, feeling of ownership and sense of belonging. Mind in Haringey has created an educational, sociable and fun environment which has reduced the feeling of isolation that many of the service users experience.
One of the regular participants joined the group following severe bouts of depression and has stated that the gardening group has helped him cope with his mental illness. More recently, he has graduated from being a service user to becoming a volunteer and now assists with running the group and has been leading the planning process for the coming year’s project.
“The gardening group has given me grounding and a reason to be. I have regained my confidence and self-esteem with Mind in Haringey’s help and could not hold them in higher regard”.
The group have transformed the land to the rear of Mind in Haringey to include a seating area where people can meet for coffee, have lunch and meet friends, creating a very sociable and welcoming environment. They have also created a sensory garden which is full of herbs and lavender which are regularly used by some of our therapy groups. Beyond this is a large area of working allotments which involved landscaping, planting of a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs and flowers. The fruit and vegetables are dug up and used to provide a meal to the participants of the gardening group.
The group is currently preparing the allotments for winter and have been planning on further developments to the garden. These include creating a natural meadow on the third tier of land which will include bird and bat boxes, bee hives and a pond. The group feels that this will maintain a natural balance with nature and attract wildlife into the area.
The real success has come from providing the participants with a sense of achievement and ownership of something that they have helped to create. Our participants regularly express how much they enjoy attending the gardening group and how much better they have felt since being a part of it. To see a person’s confidence grow through a sense of achievement really clarifies the importance of the project.
If you would like further information about Mind in Haringey and the other activities we provide or would like to support the work we do, you can visit our website at www.mindinharingey.org.uk, or our blog at www.mindinharingey.blogspot.com