A visit to Lindengate charity and identifying a few goals and ambitions
I’m back this morning, fully refreshed after taking a few days off last week for a bit of respite and a mental health detox!
I felt as though I needed a break from writing about mental health for my own mental health, so gave myself some time out from writing to focus on other things.
Rather than spending time on the blog, I was kept busy with other projects like renovating the cottage and tidying up the garden, but I didn’t completely leave my mental health mission alone as I also spent time connecting with other campaigners and charities and considering future goals and ambitions.
On Tuesday, I went to visit Charlie Powell from the charity Lindengate, who are based near Wendover, about a twenty-minute drive from where I live. It was a wonderful eye-opener, and I came away so inspired by founder Charlie’s drive and ambition to support people’s mental health and well-being.
What is Lindengate?
Lindengate is an award-winning mental health charity that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs from the age of 16 upwards.
The foundation supports individual’s continuing recovery through social activity and therapeutic horticulture.
The charity is located at a stunning five-acre site in Buckinghamshire and is open to volunteers or visitors – it is a place where;
“Nature breathes new life into anyone who is struggling with their mental well-being.”
The garden lends itself to supporting people who are recovering from a range of common mental health needs and provides a safe space for revitalisation, connection and for meeting like-minded people.
Why do people want to volunteer at Lindengate?
As well as getting involved in horticulture, the charity offers the chance to engage in conservation, construction, cooking, and nature-based arts and crafts activities which provides volunteers with an opportunity for focus and purpose.
Being involved in a community and having a routine encourages and promotes a sense of purpose, both of which play a vital role in mental health recovery.
Building confidence and self-worth is also an important aspect of recovery and this is something that can be enhanced through the support that the charity offers.
Lindengate’s – 5-way challenge
This year Lindengate are holding their first virtual fundraising event which is running from the beginning of May until the end of July.
The challenge focuses on improving our well-being through different challenges and activities. The five ways to well-being are:
The challenges are set by you and could be anything from hosting a virtual quiz, to photography, cookery or reading challenges. You can share your progress on social media by using the hashtag #Lindengate5 and more details about how you can get involved can be found here.
Nature’s positive influence on mental well-being
Spending time in nature has long been known to have a positive effect on our well-being.
Taking the time to stop, reflect and revitalise is important, especially in today’s hectic and fast-paced world, but there is also the aspect of learning from nature’s example that holds such a power and positivity.
I was reminded of this a couple of months ago when I was driving back through Oxford. Whilst waiting at the traffic lights just outside Headington, I was astonished suddenly by the beauty of an enormous magnolia tree rearing out of the middle of the dual carriageway!
I smiled because in amongst the concrete jungle of Oxford stood the most wonderful example of resilience and hope, and it made me take note of nature’s superiority when it comes to survival and adaptability.
“Nature, with its fragile yet resilient magnificence, models for us what aliveness means and reminds us that we are mortal.” Maria Popova
Taking all of this into account, it is obvious that immersing ourselves in nature is a must when it comes to prioritising our mental well-being, and it also highlights the importance of charities such as Lindengate whose contribution to this cause is so vital.
The importance of goals
Talking to Charlie about nature’s role in supporting our mental well-being was fascinating, but the conversation brought up other considerations as well.
It was obvious that Charlie had a clear vision when she set up her charity and that helped her enormously when it came to realising her dream. Talking to her made me realise that maybe I should identify my own goals and ambitions for ‘Dying to Stay Alive!’ before I go any further.
I’ve known forever that goals are important because they drive you to become the best version of yourself and give you something to aim for.
Unfortunately, when I was suffering from depression and mixed state, I couldn’t really make any significant goals or plans, I had to just focus on getting better – survival was a big enough goal for me on its own!
Having said that though, goals for those who are well (or those who are in recovery) are essential, and although it is always important to manage your expectations, having ambition can also be a great boost to motivation and enthusiasm.
Setting out my own goals and ambitions
I was inspired by Charlie’s drive to create a green, safe and healing environment and I left with a feeling of hopeful optimism.
We discussed many aspects relating to mental health and mental illness, and the conversation prompted me to consider my goals and ambitions more seriously.
When I started writing this new blog in January, the plan was to use it as a platform to showcase my writing ability and my knowledge of the mental health/illness field in the hope of getting an agent to represent my book.
I’m still trying to make this happen, and I won’t deviate from this plan because I think it’s the right course of action for me personally.
However, there are other things to think about now, the main one being to set up a charity to raise funds for a ‘Tom’s Place’ to support suicidal people.
This is a massive undertaking and one that I’m not taking lightly - it needs a lot of careful thought and planning.
So, after pondering the idea for a few days, I have decided that at the current time the priority has to be to find an agent and publisher for the book and to keep writing on the blog.
But, setting out my future goals isn’t a bad idea, so I wrote out a list of aims over the weekend to add some clarity to this mental health/illness mission.
The seven steps and ambitions I hope to achieve are these:
1. Find a publisher and get ‘Dying to Stay Alive! out into the public domain.
2. Blog daily until the end of 2021 with a particular focus on Men’s mental health, then select the top posts for a second book.
3. Campaign for the successful thyroid and rTMS treatment to be rolled out on to the NHS.
4. Fundraise by walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End with the friend that
I met in my (traumatic) NHS psychiatric hospital admission.
5. Blog the entire journey which will be the material for a third book.
6. Use the funds to set up a ‘Tom’s Place’ (a place for suicidal people to gain support, hope and treatment), buy an rTMS machine for my local NHS trust and support other ‘Places’.
7. Campaign for massive overhauls and improvements in NHS mental health care and save as many lives as is humanly possible.
Whether I can do any of this or not remains to be seen and it really all hangs on whether I get noticed, so please, please keep sharing these posts and the site to others!
If you would like to know more about the charity ‘Lindengate’ and how you can get involved in the 5 Way Challenge, then you can find more information on their website, a link to which I have added here.
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,