Larne gardening workshop supports people affected by brain injury

Two Larne horticultural therapists have been highlighting the benefits of gardening for people affected by brain injury.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 6:02 pm

Liz Curtis and Maureen Hanvey from Blossoms at Larne Lough teamed up with Headway UK to deliver a virtual workshop last week.

The link with the charity’s Larne outreach group attracted 10 participants and is among a series of virtual events to keep people connected during the coronavirus pandemic.

Liz explained: “Now more than ever our gardens and green spaces are areas that can provide us with unlimited mental rest and restoration. They can be a place of reflection and solace after tough days we all face, and they can become a true constant in these ever changing and challenging times.

Some of the participants in the horticulture workshop with Blossoms at Larne Lough.

“Our workshops are designed to show you how to make the most out of your garden, in a meaningful and purposeful way.”

Every year around 350,000 people are admitted to hospital in the UK with an acquired brain injury (ABI), that’s one every 90 seconds. ABI impairments,the charity explained, may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.

Headway provides services across all five health trust areas within Northern Ireland and has over 130 groups and branches throughout the UK.

Pamela Bell, services co-ordinator for the charity, said: “We work to support and to improve lives for those individuals/families who have been affected by brain injury. So therefore, when our face-to-face services stopped as a result of the pandemic, we were determined to keep those engaged within our services connected.

“We quickly adapted our programmes to new digital support services. As a result, we have been running weekly outreach meetings across Northern Ireland.

“Liz and Maureen joined us to deliver a virtual horticulture workshop. The group were guided through several demonstrations of how to plant their own rocket, chilli seeds and peas. The aim of the session was to increase the participants health and well being using horticulture.

“This is particularly important at present as the garden is the one place that gives us that sense of normality during this unprecedented time.”

Weekly outreach and monthly webinars will continue to run via the charity’s virtual platforms. Activities include: stay active sessions with Disability Sport, music therapy, art therapy, armchair-based yoga and emotional and well-being programmes.

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