In Impact Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety, Aylesbury Vale

Project: Bursary fund for Gardeners
Grant: £2,500
Fund: Rectory Homes

Lindengate were awarded a grant for their bursary fund, which provides financial assistance to service users who would otherwise be unable to attend Lindengate and benefit from its social and therapeutic horticulture services. Currently, just under a quarter of Lindengate’s Gardeners are in receipt of a bursary which subsidises their attendance.

The charity offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs in their continuing recovery. Attendance at Lindengate offers their Gardeners tangible benefits that include measurable improvements in their wellbeing, a reduction in their social isolation and transferable skills which can, and have, lead to employment opportunities.

Heart of Bucks are proud to support Lindengate’s bursary fund, which makes a real and positive difference to those with a financial need and reduces some of the barriers that they face and which can deter them from benefiting from the charity’s services.

CASE STUDY

L is a 31 year old man with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder who struggles with social anxiety and poor sleep. He enjoys working on his own garden at home and referred himself to Lindengate with the aim of boosting his confidence and self-esteem through being part of a gardening community and engaging with new and different people.

One of L’s early goals was to attend 90% of his sessions, something which he has achieved consistently. L reports that he enjoys the activities and benefits from the routing of attending weekly. It is now very unusual for him not to attend, and on the occasions that he isn’t able to attend, he always contacts us to let us know.

He also chose goals around boosting his self-esteem through learning new skills and boosting his confidence through connecting with other Gardeners; joining in conversations and voicing his opinion during project activities.

L has engaged in conservation, construction and horticulture projects. He reported that he particularly enjoys being part of a bigger, long-term project – getting stuck into the clearing, planning and creating part of the projects. He has had opportunities to learn new construction skills, such as bricklaying and upcycling garden furniture and has also used his creative ability in designing/planning new areas with his group.

His overall Warwick & Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) scores have remained fairly consistent during the 18 months he has been attending, possibly demonstrating that Lindengate is maintaining his level of wellbeing. Of particular note however is that his score for ‘confidence’ on his recent WEMWBS assessment has increased.

His increases in self-esteem and confidence are now visible – he takes more pride in his appearance, welcomes newcomers and will take the time to explain things he has learnt to others. He is volunteering for another charity and it’s quite feasible that he could become a Lindengate volunteer in the future.