Multiple organisations within the OMHP offer a wide range of activities focusing around horticulture and being outdoors. Root and Branch, who sit under Restore, are located on an organic farm in the beautiful Vale of the White Horse, and offer a wide range of interesting activities such as gardening, blacksmithing, woodworking, crafts, artwork, pottery, ceramics and cookery. This helps people to regain their self-esteem and hence lead a fuller life including returning to work or education.
At Bridewell Gardens, who also sit under Restore, it’s goal-led and the focus is on overcoming barriers to recovery. Gardeners leave after periods lasting from a few months to a couple of years, usually to take up voluntary or paid positions in a wide range of businesses and organisations. They provide help and guidance to Gardeners as they begin to think about moving on and support them in their transition.
Oxford Health has launched an action plan to tackle climate change by becoming a more sustainable and environmentally conscious organisation. The Trust will be asking people to sign up to a carbon reduction pledge: The ‘Five ways to 10%’. The Five Ways are: Use public transport or cycle one day a week; Try not to travel – use technology instead; Think before you print, Recycle and use less paper; Turn the heating down and Turn the lights off when not needed. They are also committed to supporting patients, Carers and staff to access green spaces for their wellbeing and recovery.
As part of their action plan, Oxford Health has also created a Green Spaces Framework which recognises the therapeutic benefit of the outdoor environment. The frameworks aims to: support evidence based development of therapeutic activities; support service users to engage in meaningful activities throughout their recovery; support and encourage staff wellbeing; signpost to community nature-based projects and create opportunities for mutually supportive green spaces projects. An example of the framework in practice is that service users and volunteers are actively engaged in gardening projects to enhance ward environments at Community Hospitals (currently Abingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Wallingford, Witney) and Mental Health sites (currently Littlemore, Warneford, Fulbrook, Whiteleaf, Marlborough).
As seen with other services in the OMHP, there is a Pathway of Recovery with green spaces as well. We provide access to green spaces to patients on all of our mental health wards. Even when discharged, all of the trust sites, across 5 counties, have green space either onsite or very close by, for example the wildflower meadow at the Warneford Hospital. The OMHP also has services which use horticulture and conservation activities as part of their support package. We also work with horticultural and conservation services to develop opportunities for people to benefit from outdoor activities where they live.
Green space information – Ox Health website. Ward gardens. OH Green Space Strategy and ToR. Pathway of Recovery with green spaces.