Darren’s story: Garden access and mental wellbeing
The National Garden Scheme has been supporting ABF The Soldiers’ Charity since 2010. In that time we have donated £670,000 to support soldiers, veterans and their families through a variety of projects including promoting soldiers and veterans’ physical and mental wellbeing through the green environment, horticultural therapy and training, and other outdoors activities. In 2022 we renewed our commitment to support the charity for a further three years.
This is Darren’s story:
Darren joined the Junior Leaders Regiment, Royal Artillery when he was just sixteen. Now, at 47 he suffers with osteoporosis-arthritis which severely limits his mobility and quality of life.
Darren was finding it increasingly difficult to access his garden. The ground was extremely uneven, and Darren was afraid of falling due to his limited mobility.
The local council, who provided the property were unable to fund improvements to the outdoor space and, during the first covid lockdown, Darren found himself indoors more with little access to the outdoors. This was beginning to impact his mental health.
Thanks to the National Garden Scheme, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity was able to support Darren by installing a new patio to provide safe access to his garden. This small change during the pandemic, has transformed Darren’s quality of life and mental wellbeing – he now feels comfortable moving around the garden and can undertake simple tasks, such as hanging the washing out and some light gardening. Darren also enjoys sending time watching the nature on his doorstep.
Commenting on the change, Darren says: “The patio is like another room to me. I sit out here with a cup of tea, birds chirping, just another world for me. I now enjoy gardening and the fresh air makes me feel better. Thank you for your support.”
Find out more about National Garden Scheme funding for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity by CLICKING HERE
This case study first appeared in the 2023 Little Yellow Book of Gardens And Health, published online in May 2023. You can find it here.