New gardening partnership aims to transform lives and council estates

Thursday 26th October 2017

An exciting new partnership between a garden centre for people with mental health needs and Southampton City Council will be working to transform outdoor spaces on Southampton estates and improve people’s wellbeing.

During the three-year project, Mayfield Nurseries, a part of local mental health charity Solent Mind, will be helping people to learn skills and knowledge to create new community gardens. Beginning in Weston, Millbrook and Holyrood, participants will have the health benefits of being active outdoors, feeling part of a social group, and the wellbeing benefits of gardening.

At the Maybush Estate in Millbrook, residents have been working with the council for several years to help improve community safety, such as installing more CCTV cameras, painting murals on store front shutters and decorating parking bollards. Working with a young tenant and a professional artist, the council's Decent Neighbourhoods Project also encouraged other tenants to contribute to a mosaic running across five council buildings -- called the Vine of Life.

On Tuesday, 31 October, Maybush residents will have an opportunity to tell council and nursery staff how they would like to re-imagine the green space on their estate, and receive support from Solent MIND. At the Halloween-themed event, we'll have a costume competition for tenants, pumpkin carving and an opportunity for residents to name the project.

Cllr Warwick Payne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Adults, Southampton City Council, said, “This partnership between Mayfield Nurseries and the council is an essential resource for our tenants at a time when some are really feeling the stress of tighter budgets and may need someone to talk to, as well as a practical hobby that helps them transform their community."

Aidan Cooper, Decent Neighbourhoods Project Manager, said, "When you see how gardening can turn a person’s life round as I have, the change is unbelievable. Working with Mayfield Nurseries will allow many more people to live happier lives – I can’t think of anything better!”

Rachel Hampton, Mayfield Nurseries Manager, said, “We’re really excited to be bringing this community gardening project to Southampton. Often we can live next door to our neighbours and not know who they are. By having a gardening project where everyone can join in, we can help people build confidence and create a friendly atmosphere where people can chat and get to know one another. Local communities are invited to join in and help create their spaces. You don’t have to be a Monty Don, we welcome everyone to get involved - it’s about coming and having a go.”

Mayfield Nurseries and the Decent Neighbourhoods Team are holding information sessions for local residents who would like to find out more:

Wednesday 25 October 2-4pm- International Way
Thursday 26 October 2-4pm- Holyrood estate (Challis Court Community Room).
Tuesday 31 October 3-5pm- Irving Road (outside Manish's convenience store at Irving Road side).

Take part in a competition to name the new project and you could win a prize. Send your suggestions to enquiries@mayfieldnurseries.org.uk 

Corporate volunteer programmes should contact: aidan.cooper@southampton.gov.uk