Community orchard at Holloway care home will help mental health recovery

Ryan O'Kane (Helping Britain Blossom), St George's House head gardener Ben Ledden and St George's se

Ryan O'Kane (Helping Britain Blossom), St George's House head gardener Ben Ledden and St George's service user Tom. Picture: Carmen Valino - Credit: Carmen Valino [supplied free of charge through PR]

A Holloway care home got a therapeutic community orchard thanks to the greenfingered people who live there.

St George’s House in Camden Road, which supports people with mental health issues, now boasts two cherry trees, a pear tree, a fig tree and a cooking apple tree on what was a car park.

The work was carried out thanks to Helping Britain Blossom, which is aiming to create or restore 100 community orchards across Britain this year.

Head gardener Ben Ledden came up with the idea. He said: “Having seen first-hand the therapeutic benefits of gardening in my job, I thought St George’s would really benefit from a community orchard which the residents can enjoy simply by being there, or by physically helping with its regular care.

“There’s nothing more fulfilling than planting an apple tree, then seeing the fruits of your labour when the apples are ripe for picking. The new orchard will give residents the opportunity to learn a new skill and benefit from a regular supply of fresh fruit.”

His comments were echoed by Gabriella Albert, the care manager at St. George’s. She added: “Gardening has many cognitive, social and physical benefits to all who take part and is especially beneficial for those in recovery. It promotes social inclusion and facilitates recovery for people we’re supporting.”

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