09 Apr Meyers and Dorset Mind launch The GAP Project
Bringing together ‘gardens and people’ for mental wellness
Meyers, Dorset’s dynamic independent estate and lettings agency, is thrilled to partner with pioneering mental health charity, Dorset Mind, to launch its own charitable enterprise, The GAP Project.
From the day it was established, a core focus of the Poundbury-based agency has been supporting its local community, and until a year ago it donated a proportion of every fee it earned to local causes, along with working with other local charities helping to raise around £200,000.
Now though, Meyers has taken a giant leap forward. For the last 12 months, the agency has pledged at least £50 from each sale and let it has achieved, to its inspirational new venture, building the capital it needed to bring The GAP Project into realisation. The launch of the pilot project marks the beginning of the agency’s aim to help and support local people with mental health challenges, an issue that is experienced by one in four people in the UK every year.
Brainchild of Claire Meyer, co-founder of Meyers, The GAP Project will bring together ‘gardens and people’, providing a safe and inclusive environment for people in and around Dorchester. The eco-therapy wellbeing support service aims to help people become mentally healthy through connecting with others and tending and helping develop allotments in Dorchester.
With the help and support of the team at Dorset Mind, Mayor David Taylor, Dorchester Town Council and David Upshall, Meyers have acquired three plots at Dorchester’s Louds Mill Allotments and the first phase, to clear the under-developed and overgrown plots, is underway. Some local businesses have already kindly offered their time and support for The GAP Project, including HB Gardening, Cougar Fencing, Zoe Barnish, Clover Clean and HK Law. Meyers are also keen to speak to other businesses that may be able to offer help or sponsorship.
Some of the volunteers in the first session clearing and preparing the land
The plan is to provide a place for people to go to take part in tending the plots in a meaningful and purposeful way. This will help reduce mental health stigma, loneliness and social-isolation by encouraging people to connect with each other and nature. It is known that being outside, and spending time in green space – with fresh air, physical activity and ‘being at one’ with nature – can benefit both physical and mental wellbeing.
The first of the plots will become an eco-garden – with seating and wild flowers, this will be a space for reflection, mindfulness and relaxation. The second plot will become a working garden for growing fruit and vegetables. And the third will have a poly tunnel, ideal for the more experienced gardeners and those who enjoy the nurturing process of growing other produce.
All three gardens will be places where people can meet, relax and refresh, with facilitated support provided by Dorset Mind. The GAP Project hopes to give people the skills to return to work or training by broadening their networks.
Claire Meyer said: “Knowing that The GAP Project is going to enhance the lives of people in the community on a much bigger scale is just an amazing feeling, we feel very fortunate to be able to bring this project to life. Behind the idea of the project are some very personal reasons to us, one being in memory of my Dad who sadly died when I was very young due to suicide. We hope this project will support people in our community who need nurturing and encouraging in providing a safe, caring environment whilst improving and supporting better mental health. I’m so grateful to everyone involved so far”
Dee Swinton, Income Generation and Marketing Manager at Dorset Mind, which educates, challenges stigma and promotes recovery towards wellbeing across Dorset, said: “We are very excited about The GAP Project. For the first time, we’re able to offer eco-therapy activities in welcoming outdoor spaces designed exactly for this purpose – helping support people experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges. Our volunteers and participants are really going to thrive from the opportunities in this environment!”
Dr Andrew Mayers, Dorset Mind Patron and mental health expert at Bournemouth University said: “This new GAP Project is excellent for so many reasons. We already know there is evidence that we can improve mental wellbeing by using our natural environment. Gardening can be a rewarding physical activity, which can also enhance mental health. This project complements work that Dorset Mind is doing with other partners, such as the Dorset Wildlife Trust, focusing on mental health and nature. It can often be a challenge for some people who have experienced a mental health problem to regain the skills and confidence to return to work. The GAP Project provides that opportunity.”
Meyers will continue to add at least £50 for every one of its successful property transactions to the fund. The team wants everyone who uses the agency to feel like they are a part of the wellbeing project, going some way towards helping others with the education, prevention and recovery from mental health challenges.
Meyers and Dorset Mind are currently looking for volunteers and donations of gardening equipment to help in their continued efforts to get the land ready, as well as sponsorship to make this project a lasting success for the community.
To find out more about Meyers, Dorset Mind or The GAP Project, visit www.meyersestates.com, www.dorsetmind.uk or follow The Gap Project with Dorset Mind on Facebook. Meyers can be contacted on 01305 259436.
About Dorset Mind
Dorset Mind is a charity that has been supporting local people with mental health difficulties since 1946. They educate, challenge mental health stigma and provide support towards peoples’ wellbeing and recovery from mental ill health in Dorset. Although an affiliate of national Mind the charity generates all their income and does not receive direct funding from national Mind or the high street Mind shops.
Mental health problems can affect anyone: around one in four people will suffer from some form of diagnosable mental health problem during their lifetime. The most common forms of mental health problems are anxiety and depression, but there are many others including bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder.
To discover more about Dorset Mind; their plans to offer support for mental health in the workplace, their support services, or to request an interview, please contact them through one of the following means:
Dorset Mind – Bournemouth Head Office: 8 Stratfield Saye, 20-22 Wellington Road, Bournemouth. BH8 8JN.
Tel: 01202 315329. Email: [email protected] Web: www.dorsetmind.uk
Twitter: DorsetMind Facebook: DorsetMindOfficial Instagram: Dorset Mind