The Big Give: Maudsley Charity campaign funds therapy garden for patients

Katherine Johnston (01 December, 2020)

'The therapeutic benefits of gardening have given me a sense of calmness and relaxation in a somewhat chaotic life'


Donations toward the Maudsley Charity’s therapy garden will be doubled during the Big Give this month.

Funds for the Bethlem Royal Hospital Therapy Garden will be matched from December 1-8. 

The garden helps patients recover from severe mental illness. Situated in the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, dating back to 1247, the Beckenham hospital is now one of the UK’s leading mental health treatment centres.

One patient said: “Throughout the pandemic, the therapeutic benefits of gardening have given me a sense of calmness and relaxation in a somewhat chaotic life. 

“Being outdoors with nature means for that short period I can breathe, and nothing else matters. 

“It also helps me to discover new talents and in time build up my confidence, which is something I lack on a daily basis”. 

The garden, funded by the Maudsley Charity, helps patients connect with nature, grow fruit and vegetables, learn about healthy eating and engage with wildlife through weekly sessions led by horticultural therapy experts and volunteers.

Head occupational therapist Peter O’Hare said: “I’ve seen amazing transformations. 

“People with severe anxiety who’ve never even been able to go into a garden – by the time they leave they’re immersed in it and love it. 

“It’s lovely to see people come alive again.”

Jo Brand, a former mental health nurse at Maudsley and Bethlem hospitals is urging people to support the Maudsley this Christmas.

“As a former Bethlem and Maudsley Nurse I saw first-hand how important it is for people to access outdoor space and nature to aid their recovery. 

“The Bethlem Garden is a unique and wonderful example of NHS staff providing a vital service, supported entirely by charitable funding. 

“We are already seeing the tragic impact COVID-19 is having on people with existing mental illness, as well at those experiencing mental illness for the first time in their lives. 

“With projects like the garden being under increased pressure to help more people – when many other activities are cancelled at this time resulting in increased isolation and loneliness.

“Please donate to this important cause today – for every £1 you donate will be doubled.”

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