2 July 2021

One Community is a service user-lead movement dedicated to empowering people with mental health conditions, through the curation of various creative groups including drama, the arts and gardening. One Community is proudly continuing with its green initiatives by creating healthy outdoor spaces and supporting the green infrastructure.

One Community first started its groundbreaking patient propagation group in partnership with Westway Gardeners in 2019. In 2021, One Community continues to lead the way across this site in Nile Ward and the One Community St Charles Allotment as part of the Community Kitchen Garden Scheme. This latter project won an Award for Brighter London Community Spaces from Wallaa Idris, Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

One Community is working with RBKC Gardeners, Lisa Wilkinson and William Rallison, and their Westway Garden partners, John Broadbent and Annie Cartwright, as well as with Cultivating K&C and Meanwhile Gardens, to plant pollinators and food plants. These are beautiful to look at but they’re also good for biodiversity and the planet.

Patients on the Psychiatric Intensive Care Wards, Shannon and Nile, have planted stunning poppies, phacelia, nasturtiums, cornflowers, lavender and herb gardens. Former and current patients from the Acute Care Adult wards come together at St Charles Community Kitchen Gardens to work on the One Community allotment every Tuesday growing squash, tomatoes, chard, cucumber, beetroot and herbs to be used for the wards and those that grow them. These groups are only working with plants that have been grown with love and care by local growers or that are growing directly from seed. This supports an initiative in Kensington and Chelsea to tackle a number of environmental challenges such as:

  • Reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change
  • Improving local air quality
  • Supporting and improving biodiversity

See below some of the plants, pollinators and veg planted below, as well as some of the team who are supporting this initiative:

One Community Cate.jpgCate Latto, One Community Founder and Lead, admiring Nile Ward.

Flowers-1.jpgBeautiful close-ups of a poppy (left) and cornflower (right).

Abdul-1.jpgAbdul Farrah and Simon Coulon working together to help our gardens thrive (left) and Fin Dac’s exquisite mural looking over Shannon ward (right).

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A wider look at the St Charles Allotment.

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The strawberries are growing strong.

Through this link, you can also find a series of posters created by Abdul Farrah, One Community and Partnerships Intern, which explore the plants, flowers and pollinators in more detail.

Cate Latto, One Community Founder and Lead, says: “as with all our One Community work, we come together at the hospital and everyone feels at home. We’re gently connecting communities and supporting one another, and we’re supporting nature, whether that be bees, butterflies or general biodiversity. It’s about feeling grounded, staying connected and being inspired. It’s also about having fun, we always have a laugh, even in the rain! The air in these spaces is already feeling fresher – staff and patients have noticed this already.”

Here are some thoughts that service users have had on the gardening initiatives:

  • “I really like coming to the garden with One Community even though I mostly just sit and watch. I like watching the nature and the wildlife”
  • “I had an amazing day today – very therapeutic. I could feel the tension leaving my body as soon as I arrived, being around wonderful people and all that greenery. Delicious strawberries and a beautiful day!”
  • “It was lovely to see Cate pop in and surprise us at the ward… I enjoyed smelling the plants – especially the lavender leaves. Planting the different flowers was therapeutic but it also felt rewarding to have a sense of responsibility to look after the garden.”

Cate says: “we are all learning together, the conversation is flowing, and we are connected in our humanity and kindness for one another and our planet. Working together with local partners has inspired a new garden initiative on Shannon that will not only enhance the space and the air with chamomile lawns and wildflower areas in a brand new design, but it will also help tackle climate change.”

One Community has been shortlisted for its second HSJ Award in the category of ‘Patient Safety, Service User Engagement & Co-production’. The work on the gardens on both wards has been a key factor in this nomination. The gardening groups have improved people’s access to fresh outdoor spaces, increasing mood, self-esteem and energy levels in the process. They have also improved patient and staff communication, and they’ve allowed past and present patients to collaborate on a meaningful activity.