The rain, it keeps on raining, but Orb has some sunny news to celebrate: we’ve just received a £9,000 Ecominds grant from the mental health charity Mind, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund.

Link to ecoBigMind ‘In these days of spending cuts this grant will help us keep on helping others.’ (Leon Fijalkowski)


Firstly, it’s – I quote – ‘in recognition of the project’s invaluable work to date, supporting local residents with experience of mental health problems, by using gardening as a form of therapy’.

So we’re celebrating a lot of hard work by caring individuals who are helping to create a living garden from what was once a patch of scratty bare soil.

But also, it’s a vote of confidence in the role of ‘the outdoors’ in nurturing our mental wellbeing

Of greenery and growth (and re-growth).

Of interacting with the natural world, when sometimes the rest of the world isn’t working for us.

There’s some  controversy at the moment about the benefits of the great outdoors.  One recent survey questioned the measurable effect of outdoor exercise as an alternative therapy for depression and associated illnesses.

But Ecominds thinks differently.  It was set up in 2010 to help people with experience of mental distress get involved in local green activities to improve confidence, self-esteem and physical health.  Evaluation of the scheme has shown clear benefits to individuals and to our society. Thousands of participants in the scheme have reported improved physical and mental wellbeing, and have been enabled to move on to further volunteering, training or paid work.

Outdoor therapy has become a lifeline for many, offering an alternative form of treatment that can be maintained for life.’

(Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind)

What do you think?

So much of the success of schemes like this is anecdotal – people telling their own stories of the lift to the spirit that they experience from being in the fresh air, the scent of greenery around them, helping living things to grow and flourish.

If you have a story to tell, why not let us know at Orb?

If you’ve never actually seen the transformation that’s taking place in the patch of land behind ‘the old garage’, come along and take a look.

hard landscaping

Just a little daunting . . .

flowers in Orb garden

. . . but see the results!

lettuce ready to eat in the garden
It doesn’t just feed the spirit!

An ideal opportunity to visit would be  Wednesday August 15th, when the garden will be the venue for  our annual showcase event.  Orb members and local musicians will be providing an afternoon of music, sound and lighting.

It’s also an opportunity to look round and see what’s new at Orb and check out an exhibition of members’ art.

Admission free, small charge for refreshments.