Volunteers from Johnsons of Whixley dig deep for York Cares.
Volunteers from professional nursery Johnsons of Whixley dig deep for York Cares.

Caring professional nursery Johnsons of Whixley digs deep for good cause

Big-hearted staff at leading commercial nursery Johnsons of Whixley helped create an oasis of calm for a local mental health charity as part of the 2019 York Cares initiative.

Johnsons donated plants worth £300 and volunteered the services of five employees to transform an outdoor space at The Hut, a mental health charity based within Clarence Gardens in York, that provides meaningful activities for those with enduring mental health issues or learning disabilities.

Volunteers Eleanor Richardson, Corrina Mills, Jim Christmas and Darren Fawbert helped make the outdoor space at The Hut more attractive and usable, refreshing and reinvigorating the grounds to create an area where people can take part in activities, socialise and celebrate together.

Work included constructing a pergola, planting raised beds, making an outdoor store, painting railings and creating paths and seating areas.

Plants supplied included varieties of lavender, geranium and various herbs such as parsley, sweet marjoram and apple mint.

The Hut is a registered charity that offers a range of activities, from a men’s lunch club to creative writing, exercise and creative workshops.

The initiative is part of the York Cares Big Community Challenge, where local businesses volunteer the services of their employees to transform a community space in just three days.

York Cares aims to showcase the positive impact a green environment can have on health, wellbeing and social inclusion.

This is the second project aimed at raising mental health awareness that Johnsons has undertaken recently. The company also supplied plants for the Mental Health Garden, created by garden designer Jo Manfredi-Hamer, which took the gold award at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

Eleanor Richardson, sales and marketing co-ordinator at Johnsons, said: “We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and we were delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile community project. We are more than happy to donate plants and also the services of our dedicated and talented team to help transform this space. “Research shows that gardening has tremendous benefits for people with mental health issues and can improve communication with others, teach new practical skills and encourage teamwork. We are therefore pleased to be part of this extremely worthwhile scheme.”

York Cares volunteer Megan added: “Our Big Community Challenge at The Hut in Clarence Gardens this year has seen over 200 volunteers give up their time to transform the space for the local community, hospital users and members of The Hut.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of the individuals who gave up their time over three days to transform the space. York Cares would like to say a huge thank you to Johnsons of Whixley who kindly donated £300 of plants which have been used to create a sensory area for people to sit and enjoy the space.”

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