Our newest social and therapeutic garden project launched in Cambridge this week.
The skills garden is located at our Victoria Road site where both supported housing services, The Victoria Project and The Springs, are located.
The new garden initiative has launched to help our customers develop personal and practical skills through horticulture using planting in the garden to improve physical and mental health, as well as developing strong communication and thinking skills.
Our on-site garden consists of a memorial planted area plus a large allotment with several raised beds and a polytunnel. The project has been set up in partnership with Horticultural Expert Ruth Nicholls, who visits the scheme twice a week to teach gardening skills and build a set of activities for each gardener to improve their particular health needs, and to work on certain goals they want to achieve.
The Victoria Project is our specialist support centre for homeless people affected by addiction or mental health issues in Cambridge. Our customers are in the process of tackling the problems that caused their homelessness and participating in detox treatments and mental health support, ahead of moving on into independent living. The Springs Foyer offers skills-focussed support where participating in education, training or employment related activities is a positive condition of maintaining and tenancy. The scheme has adapted a unique approach where each customer is committed to learning new skills and undertaking a range of training.
Jean Mary Anderton, Riverside Support Worker, said: “The garden was previously an overgrown area so we organised abig clearance ahead of transforming the outdoor space. The feedback from customers has been really positive: they are all really looking forward to being part of the project, they were so glad for a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to get outside.”
With thanks to Church Housing Trust for funding the project and local garden centre, Scotsdales, for helping us source gardening equipment.