TV gardener launches mental health scheme

A national mental health initiative is being launched at Sugar Lane Allotments to promote how good gardening is for people with mental health. It is being launched by TV gardening guru Christine Walkden  with Lorraine Shaw and Jean Richardson
A national mental health initiative is being launched at Sugar Lane Allotments to promote how good gardening is for people with mental health. It is being launched by TV gardening guru Christine Walkden with Lorraine Shaw and Jean Richardson

A NATIONAL campaign to improve mental health through gardening was launched by a TV horticulture expert at an allotment site in Portobello this week.

Christine Walkden, from BBC’s The One Show, visited Sugar Lane allotments on Wednesday to meet carers from the Wakefield Growing Together group.

Growing Together is a 10-month initiative designed to help people suffering from a range of mental health problems

Christine told carers: “Mental health is one of those things where there is no blood, guts or anything else to see but it affects a lot of people.

“By planting a simple seed in a garden it can bring optimism, give love and all sorts of things.”

The Wakefield group meets every Wednesday at the allotments.

The group’s treasurer Lorraine Shaw, is a full-time carer for her 30-year-old son John, who suffers from mental health problems.

She said: “It’s fantastic to come down here and meet all the other carers who are in the same situation as me.”

Two weeks ago burglars broke into a steel container and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment including strimmers and rotavators.

Jean Richardson, co-ordinator of Wakefield Carers Development, said: “It really upset the carers because they work so hard – it’s soul destroying for them.

“We can’t afford to replace any of the tools.”

Police believe the equipment was stolen to sell on through car-boot sales and internet auction sites.

Patrols have been stepped up but they have warned people to mark their tools with their initials.

The group is in desperate need of equipment to replace the stolen tools.

Any donations of spades, wellies, seeds or anything else for the garden would be greatly appreciated.

To help the group or for more information call 01924 375754.