Earlier this year volunteers from Our Home Our Planet, a local gardening group, approached Julie Browne, Community Health Partnerships ORM at Finchley Memorial Hospital, to ask if they would be allowed to look after the planters in the sensory garden.
The planters had started to look a little unkempt and the gardening group felt that with a little TLC they could bring them back to life and create a wellness garden.
The volunteers had previously created a garden on Finchley Central train station and they had great feedback from commuters who regularly stopped to say how much they appreciate the garden, watching it change through the seasons, asking about the plants or just having a general chat.
North London Estate Partnerships have provided Our Home Our Planet gardening group with £500 funding to allow them to overhaul the planters. The funding helped the volunteers revamp the existing planters in the garden at Finchley and plant them up with edibles and flowers.
The aim is to raise awareness of growing edibles and plants that encourage pollinators, promoting sustainability and awareness of environmental issues, raising awareness of the benefits to mental health and wellbeing of volunteering and gardening as well as encouraging people to grow their own produce and eat healthily and teach users new skills.
The mental health benefits of gardening are widely documented and in working as a group will combat social isolation and loneliness for members of the local community.
Initially it will be just the volunteers gardening on site, growing edibles and flowers. Any produce will be either taken to a food bank or available to staff and patients. As the project evolves the hope is to engage with the local teams with a view to adding the gardening option to the social prescribing agenda in the local area. 5 of the volunteers are retired health care workers with a keen interest in social prescribing.
As you can see from the photos, the team have done a wonderful job and the garden is now a much more welcoming place where staff, patients and people from the local community can spend time, relax and thereby enhance their wellbeing.