Sydenham Garden is a unique wellbeing centre which uses its gardens, nature reserve and activity rooms to help people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham.
Part of Lewisham Community Wellbeing, the centre aims to improve wellbeing through therapeutic activity and training, enabling people to move forward in a supportive community environment.
Sydenham Garden offers a range of activities and opportunities for those experiencing mental ill health, including therapeutic sessions in horticulture, art and craft, and vocational activities for referred clients living in South London.
Working with Lewisham Dementia Support Hub, the centre also supports people living with dementia.
Based between Forest Hill and Sydenham in SE23, the centre offers two beautiful garden sites a short walk from each other.
“I have enjoyed the fresh air and being outside, being with and connecting with others. The staff have all been very supportive. I have gained better confidence, more independence, and less anxiety about speaking with people. I feel more assertive and confident now.”
Arts & crafts
This social and therapeutic group uses art and craft to help people with their recovery. Activities include clay work, painting, weaving and mosaic making. Most art works are taken home, but groups also contribute art works to sell at fairs and stalls.
A group project based on the principles of social and therapeutic horticulture. Sessions, which include horticultural activities, conservation, cooking and other outdoor crafts, are based in the service’s Victorian garden and nature reserve at Wynell Road.
This project runs social, therapeutic and vocational horticultural sessions, and offers the chance to achieve Open College Network accreditation. Based at Sydenham Garden’s market garden site at De Frene Road, sessions involve food growing and maintaining the cut flower garden, along with conservation activities.
African Caribbean Group
A project for people who identify as having African or Caribbean heritage. The group involves a range of creative art and crafts, horticultural and mindfulness activities.
Who is Sydenham Garden for?
The people who benefit most from a placement at Sydenham Garden are those living with anxiety, moderate depression or PTSD, or those living in isolation. In order for service users – or co-workers, as they are known – to gain the most from their time with Sydenham Garden, the key success factors are:
- Co-workers have a level of independence that enables them to engage in meaningful occupation and to carry out a task independently or with minimal one-to-one support.
- Motivation and commitment to participating in sessions at a level that will allow for regular (weekly) attendance.
- Alcohol or illicit drugs should not be used before or while attending a session.