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Wildlife garden proves great therapy . . .

A therapy group for people with mental health problems is creating a “life-saving” wildlife garden, thanks to a generous donation from a DIY superstore.

The Haven Allotment Group,whose members include in-patients from Hawthorn Court, in Beverley, as well as Mill View Court, in Cottingham, is run by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and is using hundreds of pounds of tools and materials from Homebase in Hessle to develop the garden off Boothferry Road in Hull.

Group members say they are already benefiting from the donation, which includes gloves, hand tools, paving stones, sand, pebbles and wood. “The allotment is a lifeline,” said one. “No matter where you are in your journey, you are accepted and safe.

“It is a place of acceptance, friendship and laughter – and it has saved people.”

Group leaders from the Trust’s Haltemprice Mental Health Team say the donation is allowing the therapy to continue. “Homebase has enabled us to go ahead with our project of making raised beds,” said occupational therapist Verna Hotham.

“This will allow people at the group of all abilities to take part in the seed sowing, planting, weeding and growing of fruits and vegetables.”

Support Time and Recovery Worker Steve Watson said: “The donation of wood for the beds has meant we can keep on top of the maintenance of the allotment.

“The other donated items will help us create our wildlife garden, which group members have planned and designed to encourage and protect wildlife and create a therapeutic and relaxing space for people.”

Haven Allotment Group aims to provide structure, routine and meaning to patients’ days through horticulture and DIY. It gives them the opportunity to learn new skills in a safe environment while improving their self-confidence and reducing their anxiety.