Gardening therapy

FERRY Ward councillor Kevin Cordell has welcomed the news that Dundee City Council is actively assisting the Veteran’s Charity ‘Gardening Leave’ in their attempts to secure a walled garden in order to develop horticultural therapy.

The move, agreed at a recent meeting of the council’s city development committee, will directly benefit a number of veterans in Dundee, already identified by the charity.

Councillor Cordell, who is also Dundee City Council’s Highland Forces & Cadet Association representative, said: “There are many veterans resident in my own Ferry ward, whether in the veterans’ housing in the Barnhill area or at Rosendael, and I know the great value they put on their own gardens and the sense of wellbeing and tranquillity they can bring.

“Many of Gardening Leave’s clients may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and the privacy and security which walled or enclosed gardens provide is an ideal environment for this type of therapy.”

Gardening Leave require that the site is an enclosed garden which is easily accessible by public transport. The site should be private but with access to more public areas, enabling interaction with the wider community. There is also a need for an indoor area with catering facilities for project participants.

Councillor Cordell continued: “I believe there may be areas of Broughty Ferry which satisfy many of the criteria that Gardening Leave has stipulated and I have been in discussions with the relevant officers and I hope a solution can be found to assist this most worthy of causes.”

Dundee City Council‘s support for the Armed Forces Community Covenant which was approved in March of last year commits the council to promote the take-up of services such as access to leisure facilities and health and social care services, including mental health support, to armed forces personnel and veterans.

Councillor Cordell concluded: “For many the transition back to civilian life can be a difficult one and charity initiatives such as this one can be of great benefit.”

Gardening Leave is a charity started in 2007 to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of serving and ex-service personnel using horticultural therapy in walled gardens and is now developing horticultural therapy projects throughout the UK. It will oversee horticultural therapy projects for service and ex-servicemen and women growing fruit and vegetables in a peaceful environment where veterans can participate as much or as little as they choose in the life cycle of the garden.