• Outdoors Outdoors

Mental health professional opens community garden therapy project on disused land: 'I am really interested in eco therapy'

"Angela's determination and can-do attitude to improve where she lives is admirable."

"Angela's determination and can-do attitude to improve where she lives is admirable."

Photo Credit: YouTube

An inspiring transformation of disused land has brought huge community benefits in Kirkby, near Liverpool, in the United Kingdom.

Angela Davies, the founder of the Eco Therapy Community Garden, was awarded a small grant from the local mayor's Community Environment Fund to turn an overgrown plot in the Tower Hill area into a space for mindfulness, community gardening, and natural therapy.

"I am really interested in eco therapy — which is nature therapy — and I spotted this piece of land, which had been a garden about 15 years ago but had totally rewilded," Davies told Liverpool City Region. "There were that many weeds we basically couldn't open the gate and it was unsafe for our volunteers, many of whom are elderly, so we had to get it cut back."

Thankfully, Davies and the volunteers received assistance from a local building firm, which was carrying out work on a nearby train station that will serve a forthcoming battery-powered rail service.

In addition to creating a path through the length of the garden, the Buckingham Group also built a platform where activities like Tai Chi can take place.

Being in nature has provable benefits for health, mental well-being, and community spirit. One study found that people who garden eat more fiber, have increased activity levels, and have decreased levels of stress and anxiety.

Davies said she is taking referrals from social prescribing charities, doctors, and local faith organizations, but anyone interested is welcome to come to the garden and participate in the many activities offered.

Davies has been working on gardening therapy projects since 2018, with aims to reduce social isolation and to help people struggling with mental health issues. 

"Angela's determination and can-do attitude to improve where she lives is admirable, resulting in a piece of overgrown disused land being turned into a green haven for the community to enjoy the many benefits outdoor spaces like this can bring," said David Baines, leader of St Helens Borough Council and Liverpool City Region combined authority portfolio holder for net zero and air quality.

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