Colin Porter reports on the garden cultivated by members of Denbigh Men’s Shed, one of the most successful Men’s Sheds in Wales.
A few weeks ago I attended the annual meeting of Men’s Shed UK in Worcester. There are now over 400 Men’s Sheds in the UK which provide a workshop space where men (and sometimes women), usually but not exclusively of retirement age, can carry out renovation projects, craft work and community projects.
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It would be difficult to argue with Grounded Ecotherapy’s description of itself as ‘one of London’s most unique horticultural therapy projects’. Part of Providence Row Housing Association – an organisation that helps those recovering from addiction or who have known homelessness – the project offers training and support while at the same time, improving our public spaces.
Grounded Ecotherapy was founded 12 years ago, by Paul Pulford and Kelvin Barton. At the time, Kelvin was a Mental Health Co-ordinator for Providence Row and Paul a former resident of its Hackney Road hostel. After seven years of living on the streets, Paul, with Kelvin’s help, rediscovered gardening, something he’d enjoyed as a child. His first project was the creation of a small garden in the hostel grounds.
The words of Margaret Mead are often quoted when individuals join together to make something happen. The Lady Ryder Memorial Garden near Henley on Thames illustrates the great anthropologists point perfectly - we should ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can make a difference’.
There are many different kinds of gardens and landscapes that facilitate health and wellbeing. The network embraces all projects and examples ranging from hospices, hospitals, care homes, clinics, prisons, community gardens, cancer centres as well as nature based therapeutic work such as Ecopsychology and horticulture therapy. Landscape is taken in its broadest sense, embracing the natural and designed environment, highlighting its many relationships to human health and wellbeing.
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