We’ve written often about the benefits of nature and the great outdoors on our mental and emotional health – whether it’s exercising outside or simply making sure you get out in the great outdoors for some fresh air as often as you can.
But did you know that this is such an established, well-recognised way of helping people with mental health issues that there’s a charity aimed specifically at combining the two?
Lindengate, in Wendover, covers Tring and the surrounding villages too, and is an award-winning mental health charity that offers specialised gardening activities to people with mental health needs.
The five-acre site, next to Wyevale Garden Centre in Wendover, offers Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH), which uses the healing power of nature to improve mental wellbeing, boost self-esteem, promote social inclusion and encourage long term recovery.
According to the NHS, one in four people are known to suffer with mental ill-health in any given year. Social care facilities are needed to relieve the strain on mainstream healthcare – and Lindengate does just that.
‘Our five acre site is big enough to allow us to offer a wide range of gardening and horticultural activities, which also include landscaping, construction, conservation, art, crafts; as well as cooking and baking,’ explains director, Jan Webster. ‘Our Service Users, (referred to as Gardeners), can spend time in a managed, calm and safe environment, either singly or in small groups, working towards improving wellbeing.
‘Our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture services are catered to the individual, providing each person with support catered to their unique needs. We believe it is important to support the individual and our mantra is that we ‘leave the diagnosis at the gate’ and treat everyone as people, not as their diagnosed condition. We are now gaining a positive reputation for being able to support people with complex needs. Our environment enables Gardeners inclined towards challenging behaviour to explore that behaviour safely within Lindengate – where it would otherwise be difficult to manage in society.’
The charity also has a Memory Pathway Garden dedicated to those with dementia and memory loss, and is carrying out important conservation work in conjunction with Aylesbury Vale District Council to help save the native black poplar tree.
For more details and information about Lindengate, visit their website at www.lindengate.org.uk.