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FLORA CULTURA - UK

There are many people who are socially isolated in Wales, who suffer from a range of conditions involving mental health, autism and learning disabilities. The Pandemic only made their isolation worse.

‘Flora Cultura’, a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture project  aims to provide physical and mental rehabilitation, bolstering self-worth and confidence, whilst offering social inclusion and a sense of well-being through a variety of gardening activities.

 

They garden together in the beautiful 19th century walled garden at Gwernyfed with its large Victorian greenhouse which provides shelter and a work space. As well as the gardening, they also include craft activities such as willow work, kokedama (Japanese moss ball planting) and floristry. At the walled garden the work they do helps to provide meaning and purpose as well as rhythm to the week and year.

 

The current group consists of eight gardeners. It is founded and run by Subud member Rashid Benoy, a passionate Horticulturist with a love of nature. He has a breadth of experience in the Horticulture industry, including for the National Trust in their Cornish gardens, and working for a

charity where gardening is used as a therapy. He is currently a tutor for the Black Mountains College where he is helping to develop their Regenerative Horticulture Course.

 

Rashid has worked hard to establish a board of trustees and set up links with local people to get a good project support team. He is joined by Horticultural Therapist Janice Powell, who has worked as an Occupational Therapist for over 20 years. The people who join the project are referred from numerous local health services including the Community Mental Health team at Brecon, Powys Integrated Autism services, PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, Older adult mental health team and the south Powys Physio & Occupational Therapy team). They have a monthly consultancy supervision meeting with a Clinical Psychologist covering mental health concerns and quality of care.

They have been successful in obtaining funding through the lottery, and Susila Dharma Britain has provided funding for gardening tools, training and office materials.

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