Monday, 24 April 2017

Lindengate helps improve mental health and wellbeing

It seems impossible looking at the beautiful gardens full of flowers, ponds and trees that Lindengate has only been in existence for three years. The brainchild of founders Sian Chattle and Charlie Powell, the therapeutic garden and it’s community of gardeners and volunteers continues to grow and develop, hidden behind a fence at the end of the carpark at the Wyevale Garden Centre in Wendover. Our own secret garden helping local people with a wide range of mental health issues to improve their wellbeing and reduce their social isolation.

Trowel daffodils and brightly painted sheds

Volunteer chatting to Gardener and their carer

There has been a lot in the media recently about mental health. Prince William and Prince Harry have both spoken about the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health. At any one time 1 in 4 people are experiencing poor mental health, so the #itsoktotalk campaign is likely to be really important to you or someone close to you. We know at Lindengate how beneficial it is to talk and more important how vital it is to listen.
Lindengate Volunteer and Gardener cook breakfast

Our friendly volunteers and a beautiful environment combine to allow people to heal and to improve their mental health. Of course being outdoors and in contact with nature has long been proven to benefit wellbeing in itself; but we combine this benefit with people who care and will listen. 

The type of gardening therapy Lindengate uses is known as Social and Therapeutic Horticulture or STH. STH uses plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses a garden as a safe and secure place to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills to help people become more independent.

Volunteer and gardener planting flowers in large containersAt Lindengate we focus on each individual Gardener (as the charity’s beneficiaries are called) to create activities that will benefit their particular needs. In fact it is this care for the person rather than their label or diagnosis that allows us to adapt and improve, so Gardeners get the most out of their time at Lindengate. We respond to their needs, whether they need to be in a group or on their own, to work or just sit and enjoy a garden alongside people who care about them.
Lindengate’s core objective is to improve wellbeing and whilst we do take opportunities to sell things, our priority is helping our Gardeners. This allows us to focus entirely on our therapeutic aims and often we help people that have been failed by other parts of the social care and health system. We give people time to heal, and develop the skills and confidence they need to lead more independent lives or reach their personal wellbeing objectives. Of course to achieve these benefits we rely on a team of experts and our wonderful volunteers.

It is worth noting that, although they are wonderful, our volunteers are ordinary people just like everyone else - mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, neighbours - people with a few hours to spare, who want to help,show they care and be part of a truly worthwhile cause.  Some of them help us look after the site, some support our Gardeners either individually or in groups and some work behind the scenes. We couldn’t help so many people without them and, consequently, after only a few years, Lindengate is now one of the largest gardens practicing STH in the country.
Archway with climbing plants between entrance gate and Lindengate garden

So here we are hidden behind a gate at the end of a busy carpark  A hidden treasure that one of our volunteers described as “an oasis of calm in a busy world”. You can come and see us at our Spring Fair on Saturday 6th May from 12noon till 4-30pm. Although we are hoping to be a bit busier than usual!

Lindengate Spring Fair Poster Free Entry Saturday 6th May 12 till 4-30pm