Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s (LPT) ‘Let’s Get Gardening’ Awards are an annual summer highlight for both staff and patients. The aim of the competition is to brighten ward garden spaces, bring a touch of home and provide rewarding, therapeutic activities for people with acute mental illness that is over and above their core NHS treatment, helping to support their recovery.

Last year’s winners, Phoenix Ward wowed the judges by overcoming difficulties with digging in their ward garden, creating photo displays, and incorporating visits and patient ideas in to their garden.

The awards this year will be judged by a virtual panel that will take place between 1 and 3 July. A short video will reveal this year’s winners who will receive a trophy, a rosette, a gold certificate and a gardening prize. A whole host of other rosettes and awards are on offer for each entry.

This year gardening projects, both on ward and in off ward spaces at the Bradgate Unit, have continued to go from strength to strength despite restrictions due to Covid-19.

Staff from the Occupational Therapy team have been mucking in to continue to make progress, taking small steps forward in creating a brand new ‘Therapy Garden’ space from an unused area next to Ashby Ward at the Bradgate Unit. Over recent weeks, spades and wheelbarrows have been used to create flower beds, new planting areas and a composting area for all round growing in the ‘Country Garden’ phase of the garden.

Spending time in the garden has been beneficial for staff wellbeing, giving them time to take a breather and engage in physical activity. In addition to this, their efforts are helping preparation for the future restart of the twice weekly gardening group for patients at the unit. Staff have been able to socially distance and cleverly work with Covid-19 restrictions to offer one to one or small gardening groups during the recent good weather.

Katie Crowfoot, occupational therapist and one of the ‘Let’s Get Gardening’ Award judges said:

“For both patients and the occupational therapy team Covid-19 has placed a huge barrier in the way for 2020’s gardening projects however staff across the Bradgate Mental Health Unit have shown amazing commitment and strength. The team have looked after their wellbeing through the projects and have designed parts of the new Therapy Garden for the benefit of patients and staff.

I am so proud of all of the work that has been undertaken and look forward to virtually judging the ward’s collective efforts in our annual awards.”

The Let’s Get Gardening Awards are made possible thanks to an ambitious project by Raising Health, LPT’s charity, to transform the unloved outdoor spaces at the Bradgate Unit. If you would like to support the Let’s Get Gardening project, please visit the appeal page on the Raising Health website: https://www.raisinghealth.org.uk/appeals/lets-get-gardening