The group built raised beds, a raised wildlife pond, a log cabin and potting shed and created a herb garden and lawned area. The new garden was designed for growing flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit and with features to improve biodiversity. Accessible paths and raised features meant that the garden is accessible for wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility
Working in partnership with Carers Choice, participants attend on a weekly basis and get involved with planting, weeding, watering, painting and gardening maintenance.
"He really enjoys it; meeting new people and gaining confidence. The project has helped him build the skills to develop his own gardening round for friends on Canvey Island during the week."
There is growing evidence for the positive effects of gardening on mental health, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as benefits to people’s emotional, social, vocational, physical and spiritual aspects of life.
This is best exemplified by one of the adults who has participated in Growing Together Thundersley: "He really enjoys it; meeting new people and gaining confidence. The project has helped him build the skills to develop his own gardening round for friends on Canvey Island during the week."
The building adjacent to the garden is hosting community café sessions. It will also be a home for the new South East Essex Recovery College, bringing together existing mental health services across Rochford, Southend and Castle Point to provide a range of courses and social opportunities for adults.