William and Kate back therapy gardens in Wales in new mental health partnership
Prince William andKate Middleton’s foundation has announced a new collaboration to help create therapy allotments and gardens offering mental health support in south Wales.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the site where the first garden will be developed at Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre, near the town of Pontyclun in Wales on Tuesday to mark the announcement of the social enterprise partnership.
Theroyal couple’s charitable organisation is working with Life at No.27 – a horticultural therapy and mental health counselling provider – to scale up its gardening mission, with six gardens eventually being created across south Wales.
William and Kate will be shown plans for the Brynawel garden which includes a collection of allotments where individuals can have their own space to learn and grow produce, a communal sensory and herbal garden, a mud kitchen and an interactive learning space.
During the visit, Kate was invited to plant some sweet William seeds near Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre’s garden and allotments. Seeing the name of the flowers, William laughed.
Volunteer gardener Vanessa Townsend helped Kate sow the seeds and said: “They will flower in two years. I’ll make sure you get some."
Two-year-old Cora Phillips gave the Princess of Wales a bunch of daffodils as the royal couple left Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre.
Cora’s mother Michelle Phillips, from Llanharan, said: “Oh my goodness, I did not expect that in a million years.”
Turning to her daughter, she said: “We just met a princess. We’re never going to forget that.”
Annabelle Padwick, founder of Life at No.27, said gardens were vital in offering a safe environment for those facing mental health difficulties.
“As the founder I have seen first-hand how working with therapy gardens can dramatically improve self-belief and your own mental health,” she said.
“Our unique therapy allotments and gardens are vital as they offer a safe environment for those experiencing mental ill health, to process and explore difficult experiences with trained therapists while at the same time learning new skills.”
Ms Padwick added: “Working with The Prince and Princess of Wales is so important as their support enables us to collaboratively raise awareness of the work we do, the growing vital need that we aim to meet and how much the experiences and relationships we have can shape our future.”
The Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre – a leading residential site for the treatment of alcohol and drug dependencies – will offer free and low-cost gardening therapy and mental health support sessions for its service users and their families.
The Royal Foundation has brought together national and local organisations to support the design and build, and provide funding, tools, plants, seeds and materials for landscaping.
It said the initiative was part of a series of projects designed to leave a “lasting impact” in the communities William and Kate visit on royal engagements.
Amanda Berry, chief executive of The Royal Foundation, said: “Their Royal Highnesses are passionate about creating a lasting impact in the communities they visit, playing an instrumental role in bringing together local stakeholders to amplify the work of organisations, and ensure support reaches those who need it most.”
She added: “Their Royal Highnesses continue to prioritise our society’s mental health and spending time in nature is known to have a range of benefits, including reducing depression and anxiety.”
William – who was given the title the Prince of Wales by his father the King shortly after Charles acceded to the throne – and Kate went on the away day to south Wales on Tuesday – the day before St David’s Day – which celebrates the patron saint of Wales.
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