Gardening charity sets out to raise £10,000 to fund horticultural therapy in response to mental health crisis

Growing People volunteers and gardeners at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living

Growing People volunteers and gardeners at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living - Credit: Growing People

A Letchworth charity that provides gardening-based therapy for adults with serious mental health conditions is appealing for donations so they can provide free treatment and respite for people most in need.

Growing People, which is based at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living in Hitchin Road, is hoping to raise a staggering £10,000 through Crowdfunder for their Growing Hope project as "the COVID pandemic has triggered a crisis in mental health."

The £10,000 will pay for staff time and expertise to continue to provide therapy, cover essential running costs to keep people safe and the gardens thriving and provide a lifeline to more people suffering from severe mental health issues.

Growing People volunteers and gardeners at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living

Growing People volunteers and gardeners at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living - Credit: Growing People

Alison Shersby, Growing People's chief executive, said: "The people we work with are very isolated and have had a very difficult time during the pandemic, around a quarter of them have had suicidal thoughts or self-harmed, they need a lot of ongoing support as life returns to normal.

"Finding sufficient funding to continue this work has never been more vital."


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The small charity, which has been operating since 2006, works to bring hope back to the lives of their gardeners, and urgently need the help of donors to reach more people. Every £10 donated to the Growing Hope Project will provide an hour of therapy, and £30 will pay for a half-day horticultural therapy session to help a gardener on the road to recovery.

“Growing People is the only place where I feel safe and where I know I can be myself,” a Growing People gardener said.

“Growing People is the only place where I feel safe and where I know I can be myself,” a Growing People gardener said

“Growing People is the only place where I feel safe and where I know I can be myself,” a Growing People gardener said - Credit: Growing People

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The husband of another of the charity's clients added: "My wife was suicidal during lockdown, being able to go to Growing People literally saved her life.” 

The project uses structured professional therapy which combines nature, gardening, exercise, all in a supportive environment to help people regain confidence and quality of life. The half-day therapy sessions run four times a week, each for up to seven adults. Sessions are run by a qualified horticultural therapist supported by trained volunteers.  

Gardeners at Growing People in Letchworth have donated some of their vegetables to a local foodbank

Gardeners at Growing People in Letchworth have donated some of their vegetables to a local foodbank to help others during the pandemic - Credit: Growing People

For more information on Growing People, visit growing-people.org.uk.

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