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National Gardening Week 2020

Here at Cheswold Park, gardening & horticulture is important to a lot of our patients and is used as a form of relaxation and socialising, as well as developing and learning skills. Gardening provides many benefits to both physical and mental health and it’s a great way to lift your mood particularly during this challenging time.

We celebrated National Gardening Week this week by looking at the different horticulture and gardening sessions on offer throughout Cheswold Park for our patients.

To start, we have recently introduced Horticulture Classes to our curriculum which allows our students to get out of the classroom and out in to the open air to learn essential skills and discover a new hobby. During these classes we are still able to look at the basics of English and Maths but in an alternative ways, therefore making education accessible to a wider group of students.

In addition, over the past few months, the Occupational Therapy Team have been transforming the FIG Garden alongside patients, for the purpose of patients and staff to enjoy throughout these increasingly warmer months. The Garden will offer a tranquil Community Garden Space for Activities of all kinds, Events, ‘Chills’ and an extended Chesbucks Café dining experience. The plans for the area include a central feature, more seating and tons of Flower beds – including growing our own Sustainable Vegetable Garden for use in the Chesbucks Café. Our vision? The Community Garden will offer a place for patients to enjoy, relax, maintain and learn within, as part of their Recovery.

Once the lockdown has been relaxed, we will be relaunching our Recovery College here at Cheswold Park. One of the many courses on offer involves our students getting outside and growing our own fruit and veg as part of a larger enterprise project that we later hope to take into the community. To keep ourselves busy during these difficult times, we have been growing sage, mint and raspberries. We are also focusing on growing and learning about chillies of different strengths & flavours and hope to start grafting different plants together very soon. Right now, our seedlings are only little, but we are confident that they will soon be producing chillies of all shapes, sizes and strength. Watch this space!

As the week drew to a close, our Education & Recovery College team made sure the plants & seedlings are tended to and watered before the weekend. Everything we do through these projects is led by our students, therefore creating a sense of achievement and ownership when things come to life, and the smiles on faces when those first seedlings start to appear. As you have seen over National Gardening week 2020, horticulture and gardening play a big part in a lot of our patients’ lives, and we work together as a student and staff team to ensure that everything goes according to plan, even when times are tough. Thank you for sharing National Gardening Week with us here at Cheswold Park.

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