Gardening for wellbeing in Archbishops Park

14 December 2017

Written by: Author Helen Lees, Chair of Friends of Archbishops Park.

Better Lambeth - Environment - Focus on Waterloo - Health and Wellbeing

A friendly gardening group in Archbishop’s Park has been improving the physical and mental health of Lambeth residents for the last 6 years. They’re looking for new volunteers – could you be one?

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Gardening for wellbeing in Archbishops Park

The Friends of Archbishop’s Park are improving the gardens and the physical and mental health of Lambeth residents.

“I’m a local. I’ve lived next to the park – which itself is next to Lambeth Palace and St Thomas’ hospital – for 21 years. 13 years ago the park was pretty neglected. After volunteering for a few gardening tasks, I found myself elected Chair – and have been ever since!  The park is so different now – and I hope it’s for the better:  we’ve done many things including creating new gardens, an orchard, apiary, wildlife meadow and pond.”

Gardening club

“Our gardening club started about 6 years ago when we were making raised beds to grow vegetables. Someone from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust mental health services happened to see us and suggested introducing a few people who were working with him on a totally different project. He thought they might enjoy the outdoors.  They really liked digging and growing and before long we had a regular group.”

A bit of peace

“Sessions are relaxed and people come here for a bit of peace away from the daily bustle. In a busy, noisy city such as London it’s important to have green spaces to enjoy and relax within. We start with a cup of something and share news, then pruning, planting or general tidying up.  Sometimes there’s veg or herbs to harvest and in the Autumn there are apples!”

In the fresh air

“Group members comment how relaxing gardening can be, how beneficial it is to be outside in the fresh air and how their mood has improved by meeting others and doing something useful for the community.”

Growing more, and growing

“For the future, we are developing an allotment on the land next door so we can grow more veg and soft fruit, and maybe a polytunnel and/or greenhouse would be a bonus, giving us greater variety and a longer growing season. It’s all possible. The more people who get involved, the more possibilities there are. We’re looking for new members to meet every Friday 2pm – 4pm.”

For more information

Please call Helen Lees 07981 908919