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Growing into recovery

5 November 2019

The nursing team based on Saxon Ward at Antelope House* have started a renovation and gardening project for their service users transforming a courtyard space into a relaxing and peaceful place. 

Saxon ward flower bed.jpg

The team of nurses are renovating the existing concreate courtyard space with raised beds and pots of flowers. They are enlisting the help of their service users and establishing a gardening club to ensure patients have purposeful activities they can share with staff.

Lizzie Fenner, a Nurse on Saxon Ward explains: “Our aim is to create a beautiful garden and outdoor courtyard for the ward. We know that gardening is good for mental health recovery and a relaxing space for patients and their families/carers to use would be a real benefit to us.

“We started with a few small flower pots and this has already given our patients a sense of purpose and satisfaction. It has also helped promote engagement with staff through a shared activity.”

In October the team came together to kick start the project and made some fantastic progress in bringing the courtyard to life.

Sarah Olley, Director of Operations added “Many of us came in to help the ward transform the courtyard. It was fantastic to see our service users getting involved and working alongside staff on a shared goal.  I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the project with money, plants, bulbs or their time. It really will make a difference to the nurses, ward staff and our service users.”

The team are working with Southern Health’s charity Brighterway** to raise the much needed funds for the project. Members of the public can help the team in a number of ways:

* Antelope House is Southampton’s acute mental health inpatient unit which provides support for adults in mental health crisis.

** Brighterway is Southern Health’s Charity. They fundraise to help the people cared for by Southern Health. More information can be found at

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