Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


This project was submitted by Mercer.

The Patchworking Garden Project is a new social horticulture charity for Dorking.
We invite those experiencing difficulties as a result of isolation, bereavement or recovery from either psychological or physical illhealth to join us. Through working together we then share the therapeutic benefits of gardening as well as the possibility of new friendships, enabling an improvement in wellbeing whilst being supported within a welcoming environment.
The benefits of gardening together have been well evidenced by the Ecotherapy of mental health charity Mind, and the research undertaken by the social and therapeutic horticulture charity Thrive.
The Project is set in a walled garden generously loaned to us by Friends Life now Aviva.
The Project is entirely volunteer run so any grant awarded to us will be spent entirely for the benefit of all.
Since starting on the previously neglected site in November we have been keenly supported by local companies who have been excited to be part of the project. Timber for raised beds, paint for sheds and weed suppressant membrane have all been donated, along with truckloads of bark from local tree surgeons enabling us to create paths and safe work areas.
We are now taking referrals from local GPs, charities and agencies for people to start attending when the garden opens in May.
Those who attend will be called the gardeners, they will be supported by our volunteers. At an initial 6 week course they will be introduced to the garden, each other and most importantly to the ethos of the project. Our ethos states ”that at every session everyone has a responsibility to make the session as fun and inclusive as possible for each other, and that everyone is valued equally” –this is key to the Project’s success.
Shared activities at the beginning of the session will focus on something to take home and continue to nurture, then there will be a choice of activites to undertake.
Our team of 18 regular volunteers and the 30 or so who have attended our weekend work parties – have created a garden which now offers the opportunity to grow flowers and vegetables in beds or straw bales, a herb garden, wildflower zone, espalier fruit trees for tending and soft fruit bushes – a sensory area and a quiet garden as well as areas for wildlife and plenty of areas to just sit. In addition we have a large poly tunnel – already home to trays of seedlings.
Following completion of the introductory sessions gardeners will be free to sign up to come to the garden in the afternoons choosing what they would like to do, such that everyone contributes to the development of the garden and will have a permanent role in the project.
The funds we have raised so far through wreath and cake sales, donations and a quiz night have been spent on paths, wheelbarrows, compost, irrigation, electrical installation and a composting toilet.
We are requesting the grant to purchase, install and equip a large workshed. This would provide us with somewhere to meet when the weather is bad and allow us to continue to meet through the winter.
During the winter isolation and low mood worsen and physical activity is reduced; having the work shed would allow us to undertake crafting, planning sessions and constructing items for the garden, which would ensure that the benefit to our gardeners and volunteers can be sustained all year round.

The Patchworking Garden Project

Moment of Pride

Its attitude of inclusivity already evidenced by the variety of people attending the work parties and the effect it has already had on new friendships and uplift of mood of some of the volunteers

Location: Mole Valley District, United Kingdom