Garden to help people dig for new found confidence takes root

Alan Miller, chairman of East Durham Trust, and Annie Dolphin OBE, guest of honour, along with Malcolm Fallow, chief executive of East Durham Trust, with volunteers at the launch of the new garden.
Alan Miller, chairman of East Durham Trust, and Annie Dolphin OBE, guest of honour, along with Malcolm Fallow, chief executive of East Durham Trust, with volunteers at the launch of the new garden.
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Visitors to a community hub can see just how their garden grows with the launch of a project to help give them a confidence boost.

Staff and Volunteers at East Durham Trust (EDT) in Peterlee have created raised beds, a wildlife garden, a block paved area to allow disabled access and flower beds.

We have already witnessed measurable improvements in mental wellbeing of those involved.

Malcolm Fallow

Now the area is being used to encourage people to try their hand at gardening in order to build confidence and increase social inclusion.

The project was formally launched by Annie Dolphin OBE, a trustee of County Durham Community Foundation, which runs the Health improvement Fund and has supported the initiative.

The trust’s chief executive Malcolm Fallow said: “Just getting people engaged in activity that has an environmental angle has significant potential and we have already seen a number of volunteers benefiting from the project.

“We have already witnessed measurable improvements in mental wellbeing of those involved.”

Jon Wood is among those who has been involved in the project since the drawing board stage and has his own first hand experience of mental health issues.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed it and working with all the other people in the group.

“The support we’ve had from East Durham Trust for the project has been class.”

The garden is one of a series of projects put together by the trust which uses creativity, practical skills and group activities to help boost people’s wellbeing.

Others have included the Cree initiative, which worked to help tacking loneliness in men, women and young people through activities, the Chit Chat telephone befriending service, and Colour Your Life, which is still running and supports people to be emotionally resilient by making friends, staying well and learning new skills.

It is hoped the garden will be a focal point to help people take their own steps to improve their circumstances.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the scheme can contact Yvonne Frost by calling (0191) 569 3511 or by emailing yvonne.frost@eastdurhamtrust.org.uk.