Lindengate is a Buckinghamshire-based registered charity that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs in their continuing recovery
Operating from a 5-acre site adjacent to Dobbies Garden Centre in Wendover Lindengate offers a wide range of gardening/horticulture activities so that users can spend time in a managed and calm and safe environment, either singly or in small groups, working towards recovery.
Lindengate was conceived in 2012, became a Registered Charity in September 2013 and opened in November 2014.
The name Lindengate comes from mixing the Old English name for a Lime tree – ‘Linden’, known for its recuperative and stress-relieving properties and the ‘Gate’, symbolising passing through on the journey to recovery.
“ I was greeted by Lindengate staff with a warm and friendly welcome – I felt put at ease, listened to and cared about. I relaxed almost instantly.
The vibe you have created is just right and, although I still felt nervous about starting last week, everyone has been so kind. I particularly appreciate the fact that all of you make so much effort to include everyone in conversation – without it seeming like it is an effort. That has put me more at ease and made me feel a part of things from the very beginning.
Thanks again for all you have done for me so far – just wish it had been around a few years ago. Still, you are here now and it is already making a huge difference to my days. “
“ We have noticed such a positive change in him, he looks so forward to Mondays and Tuesdays when he comes to Lindengate – in his own words “ITS LIKE ANOTHER WORLD”
It’s wonderful to see all the plans and hard work going on, with such a variety of things to do and it’s a lovely environment to work in. Alongside caring compassionate staff and volunteers who have the gardeners best interests at heart. To have people who are patient, kind and listen and have someone to talk to in return, and want to bring out the best potential in each individual.
What I like about being here is that it’s so not medical! “
What We Do
The specialist services provided by Lindengate are known as Social & Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) and is a successful method to promote health and wellbeing, facilitate social inclusion and offer participants opportunities that can help them gain in self-confidence and self-esteem. By getting people out of their homes and mixing with others in an outdoor, fresh-air environment it is a catalyst to break down their social isolation and encourages the recovery process.
STH is recognized to be beneficial for a wide range of mental health needs including anxiety, depression, loneliness as well as for people with autism (ASD), dementia and head injury. In ‘A Review of Nature Based Interventions for Mental Health Care’, published in February 2016 by Natural England (the UK Government’s adviser for the use and protection of the natural environment) it concludes that STH helps to promote:
- increased mental wellbeing;
- reduction in depression, anxiety and stress symptoms;
- improvement in dementia-related symptoms; improved self-esteem, confidence and mood;
- increased attentional capacity and cognition;
- improved happiness, quality of life and a sense of peace;
- increased social contact, inclusion and a sense of belonging;
- and an increase in work skills, meaningful activity and personal achievement.
The beneficiaries of Lindengate’s structured process are referred to as Gardeners within the charity. Gardeners, are either referred to Lindengate by a healthcare professional or can self-refer. Upon arrival and following assessment by a member of Lindengate’s STH team, Gardeners join a session typically lasting around 3 hours and in a group size that is appropriate to their individual needs. Sessions are carefully planned and executed to give the chance to learn new skills and work alongside others on an equal footing. Sessions may take place in the garden, ranging from activities like potting, planting and developing displays, or in the arts and crafts facility, involving painting, sculpting or mosaic work.