The Chair of Lewes District Council was among guests at a socially-distanced garden party to mark the first year of a therapeutic gardening project at Lewes House.
Common Cause Co-operative, a social enterprise, has been running gardening sessions there for people to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of spending time outdoors and having contact with nature.
Members are referred to the project by Lewes GPs or have volunteered their time to improve their wellbeing and contribute to the renovation of a historic garden. In some cases, they support other members of the group including those who are living with dementia.
Lewes District Council supports the Lewes House Garden group by allowing it to use the gardens and before the project launch, the council’s housing repairs contractor, Mears, redecorated a potting shed free of charge to provide a toilet and tea break facilities.
Councillor Adrian Ross, Chair of the Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making these gardens a beautiful space to enjoy.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of nature and the social interaction to our own wellbeing. This is a tremendous project that does such great work in engaging people – especially the vulnerable – in positive, feel-good activities.”
During lockdown, the group was temporarily disbanded but is beginning again with volunteers working in line with the social distancing guidelines.
Project Co-ordinator, Anne-Marie Bur, said: ‘We are delighted to have celebrated our first year in such style. Many thanks to all our group members and to all those who have donated plants, tools, their skills and ideas to the project – it’s been a joy to be part of this.”
Anyone who wishes to volunteer or join the group should contact Anne-Marie on 07881 105276 or email email@example.com