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Flourishing therapy in Magherafelt

Published: Fri, 1 May 2015
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From left Leeanne McIlvenny, PRAXIS Magherafelt Centre Manager; Andy Mayhew, PRAXIS Director of Care and from the Housing Executive Declan McAllister, Housing Manager; Michael Dallat, Mid Ulster Area Manager; John Hagan, Neighbourhood Officer; Liam Lynch, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor.
Garden Opening Magherafelt
We have has invested £15,000 in a new therapeutic garden on an unloved green space to support the mental health needs of people locally.
The Housing Executive has been working in partnership with Praxis Care, which supports people experiencing mental ill health, for a number of years.  John Hagan is a complementary therapy practitioner and a Neighbourhood Officer with the Housing Executive.  He proposed creating a therapy garden on land located beside houses leased by Praxis to encourage recovery.
The Housing Executive’s Grounds Maintenance commissioned its contractors, The Landscape Centre, to clear the ground and install raised beds for growing vegetables and flowers with a therapeutic element.  
As part of the design lavender was planted. Its scent is said to calm the mind, promote a feeling of well-being and encourage sleep.  The design has also incorporated strategically placed seating surrounded by other highly scented plants and a patio / BBQ area to promote social interaction and support recovery.
Commenting at the official opening of the garden the Housing Executive’s Area Manager, Michael Dallat, said:
“As the strategic authority for housing in Northern Ireland we work with a range of partners in the voluntary sector in a variety of roles. This therapy garden is an important element of our work and a natural extension of the partnership between the Housing Executive and Praxis.
“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to visit the garden and meet those who will benefit as it blooms and grows.  I wish everyone well with this initiative and hope to visit it over the summer to enjoy the relaxing scents once again.”
The design has also incorporated strategically placed seating surrounded by other highly scented plants and a patio / BBQ area
Leanne McIlvenny, the Praxis Care local manager, is delighted with the garden saying:
“We are delighted the garden has been very kindly redesigned to maximise its full potential.  We have been enjoying planting seeds and flowers in the raised beds and are looking forward to seeing the garden in full bloom later in the year.
“Our service users have a broad spectrum of mental ill health issues and are at different stages of recovery. Having this garden will be of fantastic support to them through their recovery journey.
“The garden will also be of great benefit to volunteer befrienders and their befriendee’s, care givers, family members and friends of the Praxis Care scheme.  We will be encouraging local members of other mental health organisations to visit and enjoy the garden, it is hoped that this will aid the recovery of our service users by enabling a calming environment to enjoy social interactions.
“If anyone wants further information about the service provided by Praxis Care in Magherafelt or is interested volunteering with us then please call 028 7963 4488.”