Community garden for muddy minds

Hendrick, Alfie, Sammy & Valerie enjoy the new Garden.
Hendrick, Alfie, Sammy & Valerie enjoy the new Garden.

Action Mental Health (AMH) New Horizons has a new community garden to enjoy, thanks to the ‘Muddy Minds’ project, the official launch of which took place on Friday, June 6.

Antrim Borough Council’s Health and Well Being Manager, Alison Briggs said: “Muddy Minds is a community garden project designed to contribute to the improvement of mental and emotional well-being.

“The launch celebrates the partnership and community development approaches and joint working of the various organisations involved including Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Councils and Public Health Agency. Mostly it celebrates the contribution of the New Horizon clients. We had worked with Action Mental Health previously on an employability project and the garden project developed out of that.”

Sandy Webb from AMH said: “Our clients signed up to participate in the garden project. The garden is user led and grows fruit and vegetables using organic methods. A gardener supports the clients with the growing process and also provides healthy recipes using the produce grown. The clients are then able to bring the produce home with them.”

Elaine O’ Doherty Health and Social Well-being Improvement Manger with the Public Health Agency said: “An initial evaluation report on the project has shown that there are numerous direct and indirect benefits to the clients including getting physical exercise, learning about growing, finding the work relaxing or calming and therefore helping them with their conditions and increasing their confidence levels.”

The garden is user led which is an important element. Clients are involved in the decision making and sit on a Muddy Minds steering group. The Muddy Minds steering group take all decisions in relation to the garden project which creates ownership for the clients.