The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales has announced a new collaboration with the social enterprise, Life at No.27, founded by Annabelle Padwick, to help it scale up its mission to create therapy allotments and gardens that will provide mental health support for communities across South Wales.
To mark the announcement, the Royal couple visited the site where the first garden will be developed at Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre, near the town of Pontyclun. The project will form the second in a series of ‘community impact’ pilots from The Royal Foundation, designed to leave a lasting legacy in the communities they visit.
Allotments and a mud kitchen
The new garden will follow the format of existing Life at No.27 therapy gardens in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and now South Wales, and include a collection of allotments where individuals can have their own space to learn and grow their own produce. This will sit alongside a communal sensory and herbal garden, a mud kitchen and an interactive learning space.
The Royal Foundation has convened national and local organisations to support the design and build, as well as provide funding, tools, plants, seeds and materials for landscaping.
The allotments and garden are being developed over the coming months and will offer free and lowcost gardening therapy and mental health support sessions for the Centre’s service users and their families. In time, residents from the local and wider community who are experiencing mental ill health, low confidence or isolation will also have access to the garden through GP referrals.
Creating a lasting impact in communities
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Foundation said, “Their Royal Highnesses are passionate about creating a lasting impact in the communities they visit, playing an instrumental role in bringing together local stakeholders to amplify the work of organisations, and ensure support reaches those who need it most.
“Their Royal Highnesses continue to prioritise our society’s mental health and spending time in nature is known to have a range of benefits, including reducing depression and anxiety. We are really pleased to be working with Life at No.27 and supporting its mission to help communities across South Wales.”
Annabelle Padwick, Founder, Life at No.27 said “It’s an honour to have the support and partnership of The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales with Life at No.27. As the founder I have seen first-hand how working with therapy gardens can dramatically improve self-belief and your own mental health.
“Our unique therapy allotments and gardens are vital as they offer a safe environment for those experiencing mental ill health, to process and explore difficult experiences with trained therapists whilst at the same time learning new skills. We are also able to offer children and adults therapeutic opportunities to grow in confidence, resilience and self-belief, whilst experiencing positive human connection, contact with nature, sensory play and restorative conversation.
My experiences at Brynawel changed my life
Darren, Volunteer and former client, Life at No.27 added, “My experiences at Brynawel changed my life and were the best things that happened to me. The help and support I received was really helpful, and gave me the chance to come back as a volunteer. Being able to use the garden as a form of therapy has played a big part in improving my mental health which is why I can’t wait for the new allotments and therapy garden to be developed.”
In time, Life at No.27 aims to scale this model to create six gardens across South Wales thanks to funds raised via Crowdfunder. To support this, The Royal Foundation are working with Crowdfunder to galvanise additional funds for the garden at Brynawel and for future gardens for Life at No.27.
Looking to work with businesses across the gardening industry
Annabelle and her team are looking to work with businesses across the gardening industry to support the initiative either through donations or the provision of materials to bring the new site to life, to support the therapy sessions and activity sessions that will be on offer and to become part of this amazing collaboration between Life at No27 and The Royal Foundation.
To find out more visit the Crowdfunding page or contact Annabelle directly here to discuss ways your business can help.