OPENING OF HORTICULTURAL THERAPY GARDEN AT ROYAL HOSPITAL CHELSEA

Gardening Leave launch ?Honesty? Campaign with ISS at opening of Horticultural Therapy Garden at Royal Hospital Chelsea

Yesterday saw the opening of the newly refurbished Horticultural Therapy Garden at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea by the Gardening Leave charity and ISS Facilities Services Landscaping.? It was also the launch of the ?Honesty? campaign by the charity, in which it aims to bring peoples? attention to the realisation that some veterans suffer mental health problems with the transition to civilian life and often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their condition.? The Honesty pledge asks us to show veterans that we are committed to helping them overcome the stigma by welcoming them into our communities and supporting them with an understanding attitude and open mind.? The symbol of the campaign, Honesty, was chosen as because in the darkest months of the year, the seed heads of the plant can catch the sun?s rays offering light and hope to those who see it.

Please?sign the pledge online at?www.gardeningleave.org/index.php/honesty

Heather Budge-Reid, Chief Executive of Gardening Leave gave a touching and emotional speech about how it can take 13 years for the life of an ex-armed forces person to fall apart and get back on track. She continued by giving thanks to ISS Facility Services Landscaping for their support of the charity and bringing it to the attention of the workforce.

Phil Jones, Managing Director of ISS Facilities Services Landscaping ?thanked Gardening Leave for enabling ISS to support the campaign and his own staff for their dedication, some of whom spent personal as well as work time on the project.? He went on to explain that the connection that the company has through delivering a large amount of work through its contracts with the defence industry makes it a special project for ISS to be involved with.? He commented ?over 60% of ISS staff has already signed the Honesty pledge, and it has definitely heightened awareness amongst our workforce of the problems our Armed Forces veterans face.?

The newly refurbished garden at the Royal Hospital, constructed by a team from ISS Facility Services Landscaping, is a haven where veterans can spend time amongst the bespoke raised beds, designed specifically to make it easier for those who may have balance problems or may even be in a wheelchair. Mental health problems can cause the veterans to become withdrawn and by setting out the beds in rows with plenty of space between, gardeners have the choice to work by themselves or perhaps interact and share their experiences with others opposite or behind them, helping draw them out of themselves and speak to therapists or other veterans in a similar situation.

To find out more about Gardening Leave visit?www.gardeningleave.org?and ISS Facility Services Landscapingwww.isslandscaping.co.uk

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