Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

To create a garden space with something for everyone.
As a counselling & therapy centre, we see people of all ages, suffering some form of human distress or unhappiness. One thing we know can help is to spend time in nature. This isn't rocket science!! We all know that we feel better for a walk in the country or a day by the sea.
So the plan is to transform the garden space at the back of our premises into a beautiful, peaceful haven where adults can relax & be still, perhaps in preparation for their therapy or to gently recover afterwards (sometimes therapy can be hard work!). They might also get involved in the fruit & veg area, growing produce to eat or sell to raise funds for the centre. Some individual client sessions could take place outdoors & clients may enter & leave the building through the garden, thus grounding them before they return to their daily lives.
One aspect will be a sensory area with plants carefully chosen for their scent, colour, texture & taste.
For children, the garden will take on a seaside theme, with a 'beach hut', a boat sandpit, barefoot sensory path - a great resource, especially those with difficulties such as autism or ADHD, to help them explore different natural sensations like tree bark, gravel, grass, leaves, pebbles, logs etc. It helps to promote a mindful attitude, keeping them in the present moment which, in turn, reduces anxiety - all our anxiety is rooted in the past or the future so the whole garden will be a reminder to be in the present.
In order to make all this happen, we will need to clear the area of existing plants & debris & remove an old concrete & glass house to create the best possible access for wheelchairs & people with mobility issues . It's a bit of a wilderness at the moment (see pic 2)! Much of this work will be done by student volunteers from LJMU (MCTC is a corporate charity partner of LJMU).
We will need fencing & trellis above the existing walls to create more privacy.
The design is based on reclaimed, recycled & up-cycled materials to keep costs low & to respect the environment - eg we will acquire an old boat to make a sandpit, cable drums for tables & chairs & old tyres & pallets to create raised beds and benches. The existing garden shed will be painted to resemble a beach hut. We will have a compost area to recycle garden waste. To keep costs down, we hope to to acquire plants & some garden furniture via donations or charity discounts from local garden centres & businesses.
We anticipate that this project will have a unique impact on clients attending the Centre (currently 70-100 per week). As far as we know, no other local counselling centre is offering an outdoor facility with this level of care for clients.
The garden will also become part of our schools project - our outreach to local primary & secondary schools, offering wrap-around mental health support to both staff & pupils. This initiative is supported by our patron & local MP, the Rt Hon Frank Field MP & the leader of Wirral Borough Council.
By the end of 2018, we plan to be in partnership with up to 15 local schools, bringing small groups of children to the Centre to spend time in the garden for free, spontaneous play, a variety of sensory experiences, to get involved in growing food plants & to experience a quiet peaceful place.
Of course, an inherent feature of a garden is its potential longevity & sustainability. Our garden will serve the local community for many years & will therefore have an ongoing impact on more people than we can perhaps imagine at this stage. In terms of maintenance, we plan to involve our staff & volunteers in maintaining & developing the garden offering them, too, opportunities to be close to nature whilst contributing to the project.
One of our volunteers will keep our supporters & the local community informed about & engaged in the project, from start to finish, by publishing an ongoing photo documentary of progress on our website & social media

Mersey Counselling and Therapy Centre

Moment of Pride

Lo cost & no cost fully professional therapy
Highly qualified & committed staff
Quick appointments
90 minute sessions
Unlimited sessions
Unique 24/7 suicide prevention support
Relaxed environment
Holistic mind, body, emotions, spirit - including art, experiential, complementary therapies

Location: Wallasey