We’re delighted to announce that our Growing Lives programme has received 3 years of funding from City Bridge Trust. At Growing Lives we believe in the transformative power of nature and support from City Bridge Trust means we can continue to provide therapeutic activities at our beautiful one and a half acre site in the heart of Lewisham. De Frene Market Garden is an urban oasis; a place where people living with mental health issues can escape the stresses of the city and reconnect with nature and their communities.
Our therapeutic programme is designed to improve the mental, physical health, and overall wellbeing with our co-workers at the very heart of everything we do. Through a range of activities, co-workers learn new horticultural and transferable skills, which helps boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
At Growing Lives, we’re committed to fostering a sense of community and increasing our co-workers’ social inclusion in the communities they live in. Our Project Coordinator leads a team of volunteers from the local community who work alongside our co-workers, providing one-to-one support and building our community.
We run a small social enterprise where we grow exquisite cut flowers for local florists. This creates vocational training opportunities for our co-workers and supports the growth of our community’s businesses. By engaging in the cultivation and care of flowers, co-workers gain valuable skills that can lead to increased employment opportunities.
And over the next three years we’ll be increasing our focus on supporting co-workers to influence mental health services delivered by South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and other providers. We’ll support co-workers to share their experiences and highlight their priorities in mental health services to ensure their voices are heard and services meet the needs of our community.
We’re also dedicated to nature and sustainability. We manage the De Frene site in an environmentally friendly way, which enhances wildlife and biodiversity and improves the general amenity of the neighbourhood.
One of our co-workers said: “Before I joined, I was worried that my physical health issues would pose a problem. But I had confidence in Sydenham Garden once I knew the ethos of the place. The site and project are very accessible, and you can adapt it to what you want to do and feel capable of doing on the day.”