Grow­ing well with gar­den­ing

In the vil­lage of Wen­dover, a small team of like-minded peo­ple are hop­ing to har­ness the power of hor­ti­cul­ture in look­ing af­ter our men­tal health needs. Tom Her­bert finds out more Do you want to advertise in this sup­ple­ment?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

LINDENGATE hasn’t been in Bucks long but it has made a bril­liant im­pact. Run by vol­un­teers from all over Bucks, in­clud­ing Che­sham, Great Mis­senden and Prest­wood and Amer­sham it is a char­ity ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing sup­port to those deal­ing with men­tal health is­sues through na­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture.

The five acres of land at World’s End, next to Wye­vale Gar­den Cen­tre, are de­vel­oped by a large group of vol­un­teers to pro­vide a range of gar­dens and nurs­eries and are the only such health care char­ity in Bucks that uses hor­ti­cul­tural ther­apy.

It was founded by Char­lie Pow­ell and Sian Chat­tle and set up in May 2013 but opened in au­tumn last year and since then busi­ness has been steadily grow­ing.

Diane Kolonko is the vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor there and has been with Lindengate since June last year.

“I’ve been vol­un­teer­ing and help­ing Lindengate get set up in terms of vol­un­teers,” she said.

“It’s been go­ing re­ally well and the com­mu­nity has been re­ally great.

“We’ve got 75 vol­un­teers now but we still need more.”

Be­cause it is a char­ity Lindengate can only rely on the help of vol­un­teers who help main­tain and look af­ter the day-to-day run­ning.

The vol­un­teers that Lindengate can al­ready rely on have ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence across many dif­fer­ent sec­tors.

On board they have teach­ers, so­cial work­ers and peo­ple who work in men­tal health and health care.

The char­ity also helps peo­ple to get back into work, run­ning ses­sions with orgni­sa­tions across the county.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Kolonko, Sian Chat­tle – who is also Lindengate’s ser­vice user manager – has been work­ing with health care and so­cial care or­gan­i­sa­tions and char­i­ties to pro­mote hor­ti­cul­tural ther­apy across the coun­try.

She said: “She’s been in­vited to a num­ber of strate­gic meet­ings run by the health care or­gan­i­sa­tions and she’s been asked to talk about so­cial and ther­a­peu­tic health care.”

Ms Kolonko is full of praise for the sup­port the com­mu­nity of South Bucks has given Lindengate.

“The re­sponse has been great,” she said, and added: “The com­mu­nity has been very gen­er­ous in terms of time and pro­vid­ing re­sources.”

She added: “We would just like to say thank you to the com­mu­nity.” And why hor­ti­cul­tural ther­apy? Ms Kolonko be­lieves it’s the so­cial as­pect, the feel­ing of be­long­ing to a com­mu­nity, an ad­van­tage that other, more tra­di­tional ap­proaches to men­tal health do not of­fer.

She said: “It is a com­mu­nity, what we’re do­ing. A lot the peo­ple have been so­cially ex­cluded so we’re fa­cil­i­tat­ing their in­clu­sion to build up their self es­teem.

“It’s the so­cial side we’re pro­vid­ing that they’re not get­ting.”

And Ms Kolonko firmly be­lieves in the power of ex­er­cise and in work­ing out­doors.

She said: “You feel good af­ter ex­er­cise and when you’re out­doors do­ing some ex­er­cise it makes peo­ple feel bet­ter.”

If you feel like lend­ing a hand to help Lindengate in their hard work and help pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive medicine to peo­ple who re­ally need it, head along to their free taster ses­sions.

Con­tact 0208 144 4291 or email info@lindengate.org.uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

Lindengate has made a huge dif­fer­ence to many peo­ple’s lives since it set up two years ago

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