Have your say

Squir­rel re­lo­ca­tion and pri­son gar­den­ing

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

I agree with your reader

Rus­sell Hood ( Have your say,

Jan­u­ary is­sue), who re­sponded to the Over the fence

( De­cem­ber is­sue) de­bate on whether gar­den­ing should be part of gov­ern­ment pol­icy. Let gar­den­ing re­main as it is – an ac­tiv­ity in which we can lose our­selves; be free to plant, weed, wa­ter, sow and grow to achieve a sense of peace and health. We do not need gar­den­ing to be put ‘in a box’ and we cer­tainly don’t need it to be politi­cised. Your mag­a­zine pro­vides us with a wealth of knowl­edge. ‘Home Rule for Gar­dens’ – now that is some­thing to vote for! Linda Nykamp, War­wick­shire I cur­rently man­age a suc­cess­ful gar­den­ing project that is part of the Drug & Al­co­hol Re­cov­ery Team at HMP Rye Hill, War­wick­shire. My ex­pe­ri­ence of gar­den­ing as a ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tion within a pri­son en­vi­ron­ment has been ex­tremely pos­i­tive. We have built part­ner­ships with Gar­den Or­ganic and the Nat­u­ral Bee Keep­ing Trust and our work is sup­ported and funded by the lo­cal coun­cil on be­half of the NHS. There have been men with poor per­sonal well­be­ing and no de­sire to as­so­ci­ate with oth­ers or seek any em­ploy­ment, who, within weeks of work­ing on the gar­den project, are the first to ar­rive at the gate, happy and keen to par­tic­i­pate. This has re­sulted in an al­most im­me­di­ate, pos­i­tive im­pact on their be­hav­iour. Af­ter a hard day’s work in the gar­den, I reg­u­larly hear com­ments from them such as, “I slept the whole night through last night – it’s the first time I have done that in years.” Watch­ing their de­light as they sam­ple, for the first time, toma­toes or straw­ber­ries that they have grown them­selves is very re­ward­ing. The gov­ern­ment should be aware of the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of gar­den­ing, how­ever I think it should be the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties that over­see ser­vice providers, to en­sure that th­ese mea­sures are mon­i­tored and the out­comes recorded. If you pair a ther­a­peu­tic gar­den­ing in­ter­ven­tion with the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port mech­a­nisms, it can pro­vide valu­able skills in life­style man­age­ment and per­sonal well­be­ing – en­abling in­di­vid­u­als to be­come pro-so­cial within their com­mu­ni­ties. Paul Evans, DART Strat­egy Man­ager, HMP Rye Hill, Warks I wanted to share feed­back on my views, from my side of the fence, about whether gar­den­ing should be part of gov­ern­ment pol­icy ( Over the fence, De­cem­ber is­sue). I spoke on a sim­i­lar theme in a re­cent de­bate on pri­son re­form, in which I cited gar­den­ing as a use­ful tool in tack­ling a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing men­tal health. I re­ceived one very pos­i­tive re­sponse from an in­mate of a Cam­bridgeshire pri­son who wanted me to pro­vide him with con­tacts for set­ting up a unit for con­ser­va­tion/wildlife. I hope to be able to fol­low up this theme in a West­min­ster Hall de­bate on pris­ons and men­tal health. Re­becca Pow, MP for Taun­ton Deane

A spec­tac­u­lar dis­play cre­ated by in­mates of HMP Rye Hill

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