Two passionate designers are appealing for help from construction companies in a bid to complete a garden to be unveiled at this year’s RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park – which seeks to raise awareness of the mental health crisis in the construction industry.
The Constructing Minds garden is set to be one of the main attractions at the prestigious horticultural event in Cheshire this July – and the landscape designer team of Carolyn Hardern and Jon Jarvis are asking the industry to get behind the project which aims to take the mental health crisis message to new audiences.
The duo have the vision to create a garden which incorporates materials from a construction site to highlight the role that green spaces play in positive mental health and wellbeing and have teamed up with construction charity Band of Builders to garner support.
Carolyn and Jon said that they set out to raise awareness of how construction has the highest suicide rate of all industries, where an average of two workers take their own lives each working day.
“Research shows that regular access to green spaces can benefit mental health, and we have designed a calming space that we hope may help support those in suicidal crisis,” they said.
“We hope that visitors to the garden at the show will go away with a better appreciation of mental health and the impact of the stigma on people with mental health issues.
“This prejudice or lack of understanding can make it difficult for individuals to seek help. Mental health should be talked about more openly within the construction industry and be much more of a priority. We also want people to appreciate the positive benefits that green spaces can provide.”
To realise their vision for the garden, the duo are appealing for support and help from companies in the construction industry to sponsor areas of the garden. Talasey – one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of landscaping solutions – has already pledged its support.
The five-day show (19th to 23rd July) will be bringing together the best in gardening and horticulture – and the Constructing Minds garden will be a 20m x 14m space with trees, ferns, bamboo and wildflower areas to create an overall sense of enclosure and refuge.
It will feature recycled materials found on construction sites such as concrete and scaffold boards. The garden is fully accessible by wheelchair, and there are plenty of seating options. A small stream flows gently through the garden. There are over 40 trees/shrubs and 800 ferns here.
Carolyn and Jon have been designing gardens and landscapes in all shapes and sizes over many years, and have won many awards and commendations. They have talked to health professionals about how gardens can help patients heal, and Jon himself is a mental health first aider. He also works as a contract manager at the landscaping company Ashlea Ltd which is providing in-kind support for the project.
In total the garden, in all its lush green colours, is costing in the region £40,000, and Carolyn and Jon have been asking other companies within the industry if they might like to get involved, particularly by sponsoring individual elements of the garden. They also welcome donated goods and are depending upon volunteers to help build their garden. Any donated monies left over will go equally to construction industry charities Band of Builders and Mates in Mind.
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