The Greengage Project, a wellbeing ‘hub’ designed to offer a new lease of life to people in local communities, through ecotherapy and therapeutic horticulture’s is being launched by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT).
The scheme hopes to enable anyone who suffers from dementia or mental health issues, or those in long-term unemployment, the chance to benefit from and find a connection with nature. The hub in Swanage will be a glass house cultivating fresh produce, transforming a former commercial plant nursery site into a ‘blooming hub’, growing produce which will be sold back into the community.
The project is being run by DWT Community Conservation Officer, Briony Baxter, a qualified psychotherapist with 10 years’ experience in private practice and the NHS. Briony said, “Having run a similar project to this in Devon, I have seen the real and lasting difference it can make to people’s lives. There are also numerous studies that show when someone with depression or anxiety, for example, becomes involved in an organised programme of ‘ecotherapy’ they can reduce their need for medication and develop more confidence. We intend to grow people as well as wildflowers and vegetables.”
Greengage will also offer 50 people the opportunity to gain a qualification – a certified (AQA) experience in horticulture and the natural environment.
Major donor to the project and founder of the Fine Foundation, Sibyl Fine-King, says, “I am delighted to support the Greengage project. When I visited it was clear that this beautiful and tranquil site can and should be transformed into a place where people and nature can be nurtured and cherished. The name Greengage says it all, a coming together of gardens and people with good faith and an intent to heal and help people.”
DWT has already received tremendous support from the local community to make Greengage possible. So far, it has raised £14,500 but now needs help to raise the last £3,000.
Pledges can be made to Greengage via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/greengage. For more information about the project, contact Briony Baxter on 01305 264620.