A new therapeutic garden at the Priestley Unit, Dewsbury and District hospital – designed with the help of local people has been officially opened.
The Priestley unit is a mental health unit run by the South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust, and the garden will be used by inpatients, outpatients, staff, carers and visitors to the unit.
The garden project has been supported by Emmerdale actress Lorraine Chase – whose character Steph has recently been involved in a mental health storyline. Some scenes for the soap were filmed at South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust sites and Lorraine had hoped to open the garden but had to cancel due to filming commitments. She hopes to visit the garden in the future.
Lorraine said, "I think it’s important for people to have somewhere to relax and reflect and what can be a very distressing time in their lives. It’s worth remembering that one in four of us will have a mental health problem in the course of a year. Having a therapeutic garden where people with mental health problems, their family, carers and staff can sit and enjoy the outdoors is a great idea. The trees and plants will attract birds and bird song can be very therapeutic. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the opening ceremony but I offer the project my full support and I’m sure the garden will benefit countless people."
The garden was designed with the help of local people, staff, people who use services and carers who were all invited to come forward with their ideas for the garden at a consultation event held last year.
The project is been funded by the King’s Fund charity and the garden project team is made of up Trust staff and service users.
Member of the project team Rev. Mike Gartland – head of pastoral and spiritual says, "Evidence from the King’s Fund charity suggests that a pleasant, relaxing environment encourages the healing process. We’ve designed the garden to be very calming using soothing flowers such as lavender, natural rocks, water features and a commissioned sculpture and the idea is to encourage people to go outside. We sure many people will benefit from the garden and it was great that so many members of staff, service users and visitors came to the opening to get their first glimpse of the garden."