Doctor prescribes garden therapy
A FORMER GP has turned her home into a gardening idyll to help adults improve their health.
Killerby’s Satinder Sanghera will launch Serenity Social and Therapeutic Horticulture in May to offer three hours of gardening therapy a week to people with physical and mental health difficulties.
Dr Sanghera was a practice GP in Weardale for 20 years and remains a keen gardener.
After retiring, she decided to turn her 12-acre garden into a horticultural haven after spotting gaps in provision for people with long-term conditions.
Dr Sanghera said: “We were effective in lots of ways but there were areas where I felt we didn’t do that well in.
“People need a sense of purpose in their lives if your position in the community or in society has changed.
“They need different things to make them feel better.”
A county runner in her youth, the mother-of-two was struck by a stroke aged 20 and lost most of the use of one side of her boy. She took to horticulture and the help it offered inspired her to convert her garden following retirement.
“I had an opportunity to continue working with the clinical commissioning group after I retired but I didn’t feel that sort of work made a lot of difference,” she said.
“If I can help just one or two people I will have made a difference. I’d rather do that than sit in a suit on a committee.”
The garden features poly tunnels, specialised raised beds and workshops to offer a space for rehabilitation and recovery. A secluded pond will offer a safe space when people need time to themselves.
Grants have also been secured for a disabled toilet and adapted gardening tools for those with physical disabilities. As well as the groundwork, Dr Sanghera has completed courses with THRIVE, a UK horticultural therapy charity, to understand the evidence for as well as attending a cutting garden and floristry skills courses.
She added: “Gardens are peaceful and restorative, a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.
“By including flowers in our gardening therapy I hope to encourage women to attend. Both women and adults with long term health issues are under represented in gardening therapy projects throughout the UK which is why I would like to invite these groups to attend our gardening therapy programme.”
The charity project aims to take on ten clients in May this year for a ten week spell.
Dr Sanghera is taking applications for this summer before the end of April.
For more information about Serenity STH or to volunteer, contact Dr Sanghera on 07789 640421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The garden at Woodside opens under the National Garden Scheme on Saturday, August 4.