16 October 2019

Winners announced in gardening for mental health competition

Amblescroft South

Gardens and outside spaces at sites across Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust have been transformed into havens of tranquillity, thanks to staff, patients and carers taking part in the Trust's annual 'AWP in Bloom' competition.

Throughout the summer months 11 teams from across the Trust have been digging, planting, pruning and painting as they took part in the competition, which aims to engage patients, families, carers, staff and local communities in gardening activities to enhance outside spaces across the Trust's estate.

The competition is sponsored by the Trust's official charity Headlight, which provides funding for projects and equipment to enhance the care provided by the Trust.

Headlight Fundraising Manager, Tia Shortall, said: "This year's competition has seen some remarkable entries with teams really getting behind the initiative. As well as transforming the outside spaces, one team created a working kitchen garden producing vegetable boxes which were sold to families and carers and the money re-invested into the garden."

Other creations included the integration of a reminiscence shed for dementia patients into a seaside themed garden, using tyres as planters in an area with limited outside space and transforming a neglected courtyard with a mural.

One patient, who took part in the competition, said: "Being able to sit in the garden and potter around doing tasks during the gardening group made a huge difference to me and meant that my stay in hospital was even better."

Sophie Couzens, Ward Manager at Aspen Ward at Callington Road Hospital in Bristol, said: "This has been such a rewarding project. The feedback from staff, patients, carers and visitors has been amazing and it has really assisted to support patients and improve their motivation and mental well-being. I'd particularly like to thank the occupational therapists for their input, support and hard work to make this project happen. It has been a really positive group."

The winners of the competition were:

Category: Best transformation
Winner: Aspen Ward at Callington Road Hospital in Bristol
Highly commended: Hodson Ward at Sandalwood Court in Swindon

Category: Best engagement
Winner: Dune and Cove wards at the Long Fox Unit, Weston-super-Mare
Highly commended: Elmham Way Unit, Weston-super-Mare

Category: Best established garden
Winner: Amblescroft South Ward, Fountain Way Hospital, Salisbury

Category: Innovative Spaces:
Winner: Speedwell Centre, Bristol, and Applewood Ward, Sandalwood Court, Swindon

Each of the winning gardens will receive a plaque to display and certificates for all those involved.

Headlight Mental Health Charity is the registered charity of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust. The charity works alongside AWP to enhance care and support recovery for AWP patients. Headquartered in Bath, the charity covers Wiltshire, Swindon, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and North Somerset. To find out more go to www.headlightcharity.org.uk

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