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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Lindengate has made a huge difference to many people’s lives since it set up two years ago