SIL Bluebell Court - Gardening Project
One of the people we support at our scheme in Blackpool has started her own gardening project, which is providing huge benefits for her mental well-being. The Scheme Manager, Chris Lees, has written about her journey to recovery using gardening as her main tool. Read her story below!
When Zoe first moved into Bluebell Court she was extremely hesitant to engage with the staff team and struggled to view her flat as a home. Zoe’s behaviour both in and out of the scheme led to her being at risk of losing her tenancy.
We invited our Occupational Therapist from the SIL Quality and Practice Team to visit Zoe to complete an Occupational Therapy Assessment. We were hopeful that Zoe would trust us and start unlocking her true potential and during the assessment Zoe mentioned a passion for gardening.
After the assessment I spoke with Zoe about the possibility of her being given a plot of land outside of the main entrance to make her own and landscape, Zoe was excited about this opportunity. During this time, Inclusion Housing (the landlord) were offering a voucher scheme which included gardening tools and equipment. Inclusion Housing were approached on Zoe’s behalf and was initially given £50 to spend to make a start on the gardening project.
When Zoe received the voucher, she visited a local garden centre with staff members and she purchased eight Sunflowers which she planted, labelled and then individually named them after members of the staff team. Zoe would be seen every day outside tending to the flowers.
It soon became apparent that gardening was providing Zoe with a welcome distraction as she began returning to the scheme with decorative items for her own flat. The flat that was once just a flat was visibly becoming a home. Zoe would eagerly awake in the morning to tend to her garden and would then return to her flat and tend to that too. Zoe would happily discuss her pride around the garden and would often ask staff to work on it with her and afterwards would invite staff into her flat to show them the work she had put into that too.
Zoe was given a further voucher for £100 and again she visited the local garden centre where she purchased all of the flowers and borders that can be seen in photographs.
As a result of this gardening project, Zoe now has a flat that she happily calls her home and we have a garden that we can all be proud of. Zoe has now started to believe in herself and has allowed herself to trust in others in order to continue her journey of recovery.