This summer, Care Plus Group Charitable Trust awarded £3,336 to Oasis Academy Wintringham to redevelop an outdoor space dedicated improving the welfare and mental health of staff and students.
The Peace Garden already in situ at the academy had fallen into ruin through the pandemic and subsequent months and needed plenty of care and attention. The funds from the Trust will help to restore and drastically improve the area. The design will allow the academy to create a Peace Garden that is self-maintaining, offering year on year growth based on their tree and plant selection, offers sufficient seating and allows staff and students an opportunity to enjoy the area, which is far removed from the classroom and their own gardens.
Oasis Academy Wintringham serve one of the most deprived cohorts nationally. Prior to Covid the academy had a cohort whose mental ill health was on the rise, with limited options to support.
As a result, a volunteer group was formed to create The Peace Garden, a place they felt was removed from the classroom and surrounded students with nature. The sights and sounds of nature are proven as a grounding method and reduce a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.
The group wanted a sensory aspect to the garden, allowing students to touch and smell plants and herbs. Sensory experiences like smell are also a mechanism to help ground a student when they are in crisis. The most disadvantaged students do not have access to nature in their own gardens, meaning this would be their only chance to feel the benefits of this area.
Since the pandemic only exaggerated the needs of disadvantaged cohorts, more and more students needed support. However, the pandemic meant the group was not allowed to meet or work together as nature took the garden back, unfortunately.
Re-development of this area will now allow the academy to take students out of the classroom in several ways, including taking tutor groups out to read in the morning, create a lunch time club allowing staff and students who are not necessarily in crisis to share this space, quietly eating their lunches absorbed by their surroundings, and encouraging staff in their ‘free’ time to go outside and experience the same benefits.
All staff and students are encouraged to experience the benefits of connecting to nature, to support them as they grow and build resilience with their mental health. The Peace Garden will allow 800 plus students and 50 plus staff members the opportunity to improve with their own mental wellbeing.
Explore how the Charitable Trust could support your health and wellbeing project, to improve the lives of others across Lincolnshire at https://www.cpgcharitabletrust.org/who-we-support