Trust pledge benefits local services

News photo: Trust pledge 1 (Sydenham Garden)

When the National Patient Survey took place earlier this year the trust promised to fund local activities supporting service users with an additional £10 for every survey returned. 

The two services chosen are Sydenham Garden and the trust’s Events Calendar at Green Parks House (GPH). Both will receive an extra £1,375.

Founded in 2002, Sydenham Garden is a charity that aims to use horticulture and art and craft to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Lewisham and Bromley. It provides gardening and creative opportunities for co-workers (the name the project gives to patients) who are referred from over 30 community organisations and health sector agencies including Oxleas.

With a strong emphasis on social inclusion, Sydenham Garden has developed  an integrated approach where people with different degrees of mental and physical ill-health come together with volunteers and members of the local community. In addition to therapy and rehabilitation, it also provides accredited training and help with moving towards further education, volunteering and employment.  In 2009 over 50 people achieved Open College Network Qualifications.

Jennie Graham, Chief Executive of Sydenham Garden said:  “We are all absolutely delighted. This will make a big difference to the delivery of our work with people experiencing mental ill health. This year we have lots of exciting things happening, including starting to deliver therapeutic sessions from our new resource centre which opens in October, and the beginnings of our market garden enterprise, where we will grow food for sale to the local community."

Sue Carter, Occupational Therapist at GPH, is the dynamo behind the Events Calendar which she has run since January 2010. Sue explains: “The service users really enjoy competitive activities and those that staff join in with. As part of our social inclusion initiative we chose events for our calendar that service users could participate in further in their local communities following their discharge.”

So far, these have included an inter-ward art competition, a ‘Master Chef’ cooking competition and a week of World Cup Football themed activities timed to coincide with its namesake in South Africa. Future plans include a ward themed BBQ spectacular and a week of music, dance and drama to celebrate World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Sue says that the donation will enable this ambitious project to happen: “Some music sessions will have to be paid for, and we have made contacts with some brilliant artists, including dance instructors who worked on the T Mobile Big dance sessions. We hope to contact 'Mbawula' who describe themselves as a musical organisation blending African and Jazz rhythm, and a drama therapist. The money will also help us to secure the calendar for next year.”

The survey is coordinated annually by the Care Quality Commission to gather feedback from patients on different aspects of their experience of care. The results will be published in September.

For more information about the GPH Events Calendar contact Sue Carter at

To find out about Sydenham Garden,  you can call them on 020 8291 1650, email them at, or visit their website

Photo caption:

Kevin, a Sydenham Garden project volunteer hard at work

Related information

Published on 26th August 2010