British Forces News reported in 2011 that a new gardening project has been launched at Headley Court to provide occupational therapy for personnel recovering at the Ministry of Defence Rehabilitation Centre. Update 18 June 2017: The Sunday Times reported that the MoD wanted the charity to continue treating its troops, even when Headley Court closes next year and is replaced by Stanford Hall, a new £300m rehabilitation centre in Nottinghamshire, but had declined to help fund the £350,000 needed to finance another three years of the programme and said the charity would have to find the money itself.
Medical evidence shows horticulture provides physical, neurological and psychological rehabilitation, testing patients' motor skills, plus their strength and endurance.
The newly refurbished greenhouse and allotment area will challenge patients with complex poly-traumatic injuries.
The gardening tasks will provide cognitive therapy; with medical evidence suggesting that being in an outdoor environment reduces stress, leading to improved concentration.
One of those benefiting from time in the greenhouse is triple amputee Guardsman Lamin Manneh, he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan last October. Like many military personnel he was attracted to the army because of the outdoor life and is pleased to be out of the gym. He said: 'some of activities you can't do outside, it is good to have this, it's brilliant'
Not only is gardening providing a form of rehabilitation for these patients it's also a new skill they can take with them for the rest of their lives.
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