Urban Growth: Garden Therapy in Camden

A garden therapy project that helps people to improve their mental health by connecting with nature and growing and cooking organic food.

We did it!

On 15th Jun 2018 we successfully raised £340 with 10 supporters in 28 days

Welcome to Urban Growth's Crowdfunder Campaign

Urban Growth is a Garden Therapy project based in the heart of Camden. Set up by the charity Jobs in Mind in 2010, we help adults with severe and enduring mental health issues to connect with nature, improve their fitness and learn all about organic fruit and vegetable production. 

Based on the Elm Village estate in the heart of Camden Town, our members join us for up to six months in order to improve their mental health and wellbeing and learn valuable vocational skills.  At Urban Growth we work as part of a holistic process, alongside mental health nurses, GPs, social workers and psychiatrists, to aid our members with their personal development and journey towards recovery. 

What is garden therapy? 

Garden therapy (also known as horticultural therapy, ecotherapy and green care) means using plants, gardens and nature-based activities to help improve a person's mental and physical wellbeing.

We all know that spending time in the natural world is good for our physical health, but it's also incredibly important for our mental health too. There's an increasing body of evidence that spending time in nature can  improve our mental wellbeing, have a positive impact on our daily lives and reduce reliance on NHS services.*

At Urban Growth we teach our members to grow a wide-range of fruits and vegetables in our 0.3 acre garden. A tranquil and relaxing environment, complete with a greenhouse, orchard and over 40 raised beds, our garden is a unique space in the heart of Camden where our members can see the tiny seeds that they have sown, grow into harvestable and healthy fruits and vegetables.

We offer our members a sense of purpose, structure and achievement, and also help to tackle social exclusion by promoting a sense of community. 

Why do we need your help?

At Urban Growth, we believe that a person's economic means shouldn't be a barrier to engaging in services and improving their mental health, so our service is completely free to our members. However, this means that we are reliant on charitable funding to continue our work. Over the past year we have managed to keep our base costs really low, we use recycled and donated materials where possible, and we sell our produce to a local veg box scheme - but sadly this isn't enough. 

Currently, we run our service two days a week and in order to pay our one part-time staff member and have enough money left over for materials such as seeds, manure and wood, we need to raise more funds - which is why we need your help. 

In the future, we hope to become self-sustaining through charitable funding, but right now we need a boost of income in order to help us increase the number of people that we can support and increase the ways in which we can support them. 

Earlier this year, Camden Council kindly bought us a storage container, which we are in the process of converting into a kitchen space. We're making the cabinets out of reclaimed wood, but we need money for further materials and to purchase a gas stove to cook on.

Having a fully-functioning kitchen will mean that we can teach our members how to take the produce that they have grown from plot to plate by creating healthy and nutritous meals than we can eat together. This cooking project will help to create an even stronger sense of community among our members, and also help to cemete our bond with the local community who we hope to hold more events for in the future.  

What will your money go towards? 

Your wonderful donations will go towards:

1. Paying our part-time member of staff

2. Purchasing garden materials 

3. Creating our wonderful new kitchen space

At Urban Growth we are very good at making something out of nothing.  We upcycle any spare wood that we have, as well as making our own compost, collecting rainwater and re-using all of our pots and seed trays over and over again. 

We can therefore assure you that every penny you give will really make a difference to us, and will only be spent on vital overheads and materials.  

 

Our vision of the future: Community Matters

Our vision of the future is simple - we want to help more Londoners to improve their mental health and physical wellbeing. With the time and the money to do this, we want to take on new members, build our cooking project, sell our produce to more local restaurants and engage more with the local community of Camden. 

We'd also love to take on more volunteers and train them in organic fruit and vegetable production, equipping them with the tools to join London's thriving urban food growing community and create a more sustainable and ethical food future for all of us. 

With your help, we can reach and support the people that need us most, and help London to grow into a more thriving, healthy and active city!

*https://www.gov.uk/government/news/connecting-with-nature-offers-a-new-approach-to-mental-health-care

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/21/access-nature-reduces-depression-obesity-european-report

All photos by Veerle Evens - www.veerleevens.com

To learn more about Jobs in Mind and Urban Growth, please visit our website: www.jobsinmind.org

 

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