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A place to bloom
Vulnerable people have been given their own peaceful haven where they can learn new skills and improve their health.
Oxfordshire charity Guideposts Trust has opened its first Dig’n’Grow therapeutic garden project in Witney to offer people with mental health problems and dementia, those with disabilities and older people a chance to grow their own vegetables.
It is also hoped the produce can be sold at farmers’ markets.
Based at Bromag Industrial Estate, the idea of the garden is to boost health and learning, and develop social skills.
Project manager Mandy Dobson came up with the idea and said the garden had something for everyone.
Apart from gardening, plans include cookery lessons and arts and crafts.
She said: “It gives people a chance to come down and be creative.
“It’s a great place for people with a diverse range of disabilities who love watching things grow.
“For people with mental health problems, it’s a nice place to be. It’s calm and they can sit back and take time out.
“We have planted some of the raised beds but have left the rest so people can come along and have their own ideas of what to plant.”
Spokesman Louise Longson said health benefits of gardening included lowering blood pressure.
She added: “Garden-related activities help a person remain connected to the world around them, and to connect with natural life-cycles.”
The charity helps vulnerable people across the county and supports youth and after-school clubs for children, a dementia helpline, a help at home service and runs an independent living centre in Abingdon.