Caring for plants and caring for ourselves


Enfield Down, a unit in Honley for people experiencing mental health difficulties, has set up a caring garden group to give service users the opportunity to get involved with gardening activities and enjoy the independence of caring for their own plants.

The caring garden group – the Buds and Spuds group, was set up with support from the Trust’s Creative Minds strategy which gave staff the opportunity to purchase gardening tools, seeds, a greenhouse and planting troughs accessible for those in a wheelchair.

Audra Braithwaite, occupational therapist technical instructor at the unit explained, “We applied for funding to set up the garden so that people currently staying at Enfield Down would have the opportunity to get involved in gardening activities such as planting seeds, growing vegetables and fruits and tending to flowers.

“So far we have planted a number of hanging baskets with red, white and blue flowers in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, grown strawberry plants and planted cabbages and courgettes. Those who take part in the Buds and Spuds group are then given the opportunity to exert their independence as they are responsible for caring for the plants.

“We hope to make the garden self sustaining and in the future will sell the flower baskets we plant in order to buy more seeds and tools. We have also installed a compost bin so that waste from our kitchens can be broken down and used to fertilise our plants.

“Activities such as gardening can have a really positive effect on people’s physical and mental health as not only are people exercising and increasing their flexibility but they are also taking part in an activity that is mentally stimulating and encourages social interaction.

“Another important aspect of this project is that it is socially inclusive as everyone at the unit, regardless of their knowledge about gardening or growing plants, can get involved in some way during the groups and play a part in helping our caring garden to grow.”

Aubrey and Mooney have been taking part in the project since it started and have been responsible for growing a number of the plants and vegetables that can be seen flowering at the unit. Aubrey said, “I love being able to come out to this space, work in the greenhouse and do an activity that I really enjoy.”

Audra Braithwaite continued, “A big thank you must go to all the staff who have helped to establish the garden at Enfield Down. In particular I would like to thank the Trust’s procurement team, as without their help in organising and purchasing the gardening equipment, I am not sure we would have been able to establish our garden.”

Caring for plants and caring for ourselves

time to read: 2 min