Turning the gardens at East Glade into a haven for wildlife

A team of staff and service users from our Recovery Service South have been steadily transforming the grounds where they work into a green oasis, with shrubs, flowers, trees already planted, with a wildflower meadow and fruit orchard on the way.

Over the last nine months the team based at the East Glade Centre in Frecheville have worked alongside Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to hold tree and flower planting events.

Research shows that green spaces are good for mental and physical wellbeing, provide psychological relaxation and alleviate stress.

The project at East Glade has given service users the opportunity to join in and transform the space into a verdant garden that attracts insects, birds and hedgehogs, improving the environment and their physical and mental wellbeing at the same time.

The improvements come as SHSC’s Green Plan is about to be launched. The plan sets out how SHSC will reduce its carbon footprint and how its emissions will be net zero by 2030. Planting trees and plants to store carbon will be an important part of achieving this plan.

Victoria Catton, Occupational Therapist at East Glade, said: “Our aim has always been to improve the habitat and increase biodiversity at East Glade. As mental health professionals we know how therapeutic beautiful green spaces are for service users and our staff who work here. It’s been fantastic to include our service users in the work as it gives them a stake in the site alongside access to the therapeutic benefits of nature.

“We had the land at East Glade so the team has just pulled together and have really gone for it. We’ve put in flower beds to attract insects, as well as trees and shrubs. NHS Forest are donating cherry and crabapple trees and we have wildflowers and bird boxes on the way.”

Megan Carroll, Nature Recovery Community Engagement Officer at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: “It's been wonderful to see SHSC taking action for nature at East Glade. It's been great to work with the occupational therapy team and service users to plant trees, develop pollinator-friendly flower beds and explore the possibilities of looking after the site in a wildlife-friendly way, such as mowing the lawns less often.

“As well as the incredible health benefits, initiatives such as this play a part in helping to tackle the recently declared nature emergency. I'm looking forward to seeing the benefits for people and wildlife as the seasons progress.”

The East Glade centre is home to the Recovery Service South, which provides support to adults living in the south of Sheffield who have complex or ongoing mental health needs.