AN ANDOVER charity has received a huge donation for its garden project aimed at supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Andover Mind launched its fundraising initiative in September to design and develop a beautiful and inspirational education, health and wellbeing garden within an unused piece of land in Longstock.

The charity has now received a £25,000 donation for its Garden for Mind project from Simplyhealth.

The project, which will support mental health and wellbeing, as well as educate about climate change challenges and biodiversity loss, is a collaboration between Andover Mind, Waitrose and Partners, and the John Lewis Partnership Golden Jubilee Trust.

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The Waitrose and Partners Leckford Estate has provided the land to Andover Mind to use to create a community garden to help provide individuals in Test Valley with a safe and nurturing space for relaxation and healing.

Throughout September, Andover employer Simplyhealth ran a movement challenge for its colleagues to raise vital funds for the project.

Colleagues were encouraged to get moving over a three-week period and share pictures of their activity to unlock a donation from the organisation – by the end of the three weeks colleagues had helped raise £25,000 for Andover Mind. 

The donation will go towards landscaping and creating a therapeutic and serene garden environment for individuals facing mental health challenges.

This includes planting and maintaining the garden to ensure it provides the intended benefits to the community.

Additionally, a portion of the donation will be allocated to awareness campaigns and community engagement initiatives associated with the project. 

Libby Hilling, lead for Andover Mind’s Garden for Mind project, said: “We are so incredibly thankful to all at Simplyhealth for helping us raise such a huge amount for the project. This generous contribution will serve as a cornerstone for the project’s financial foundation, enabling it to progress towards its objectives with enhanced momentum. We hope this acts as inspiration to other organisations to consider a wellbeing fundraising challenge in aid of Garden for Mind.”

Charlotte Cook, ESG lead at Simplyhealth, said: “Simplyhealth is a purpose-led organisation, committed to improving access to healthcare support for all, across the UK. We understand moving is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental wellbeing and wanted to encourage our colleagues to make the time to improve their own wellbeing while also supporting our local community. We are extremely proud to have raised so much to help support those in the area. Our commitment to a healthy world has been our driving force for the last 150 years and we will continue to support incredible causes helping those most in need.”

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Andrew Hoad, head of Leckford Estate, said: “We're proud to be able to support Andover Mind's brilliant work by providing a part of our nursery space at the Leckford Estate, along with the funds donated by Simplyhealth. We acknowledge and support the need for more awareness around mental health, and we encourage our Partners and customers to spend time in nature to support their wellbeing. We look forward to seeing the creation of the garden and to welcome our visitors and local community to benefit from this important new community facility.”

The Garden for Mind project sees volunteers and service users from Andover, Romsey and the surrounding villages come together in nature, providing much-needed respite and therapy for mental ill-health, whilst also supporting adult carers and those living with Dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

While Andover Mind is leading on this project, the intention is that the garden will provide a welcoming, relaxing and inspiring outdoor space for the whole community to benefit from, with plenty of opportunities for other local charities and organisations to make use of the facilities.