Organisation aims / mission / values
- Our mission is to provide well-being through gardening and we are passionate about providing educational opportunities, relieving social exclusion and providing therapy to those in need through horticulture and healthy living.
Educating those around us
We aim to provide education in growing, gardening and healthy living through accredited and non-accredited horticulture-based learning opportunities for individuals, groups and our local community. We host an expert team of horticulturalists, florists and garden designers who are highly experienced in working with individuals with learning disabilities, sensory and communication impairments, experience of mental health distress, physical disabilities and many other long term and life changing illnesses and offer progressive and accessible learning opportunities to those in need.
Relieving social exclusion
We provide a beautiful urban garden where everyone is welcome to come and get their hands dirty. We recognise that individuals with support needs can be left isolated and unable to do things that others often take for granted and we aim to relieve this isolation and social exclusion through the opportunities we provide. Our garden is safe and accessible for all and open for all to visit, enjoy, experience and learn from. We not only invite all around us to our garden but also reach out to our local community through activities involving horticulture, herbs and food growing.
Providing therapy through horticulture and healthy living
We are experts in using gardening and associated activities as a tool for mental, social and physical activity and rehabilitation following illness and health problems, providing both horticultural therapy and ecotherapy to those in need. Our programmes aim to relieve the symptoms of disability, health and social issues through using our expertise to help people grow plants, make friends, live healthier lives and flourish.
Picture with tall sunflowers in front of block of flats photographed from below.
How we deliver these aimsFor over 25 years the garden has been used as a resource by local residents, schools and community groups. St Mary’s Secret Garden has particular skills and experience in working with people and groups with support needs; such as people with learning disabilities, people on the autistic spectrum, people with experience of mental ill health, people with physical disabilities and people with other types of life changing long term health issues.
Who benefits from our workTherapeutic Placements Users of these services are individuals who have disabilities and long-term health problems. The garden setting provides people with support needs the opportunity to become a valuable member of their community by running and maintaining this open access garden. The garden also enables them to learn about horticulture and healthy living to be outdoors and socialising when they would otherwise be indoors and isolated. Tasks can be adapted by staff and supporting volunteers through their knowledge of gardening and an understanding of the clients’ occupational/vocational and therapeutic needs. Greening for Wellbeing Weekly maintenance gardening based volunteering placements for people with mental ill health. The Garden Social Weekly social gardening sessions for people in Hackney age 50+ with learning disabilities. Buzzin’ With support from Team London and Thrive LDN, we are on the hunt for young people from Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington who would like to volunteer as part of our new beekeeping project.
St Mary's Secret Garden, 50 Pearson Street, London, E2 8EL