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Good mental health set to flourish at Sutton college through unique wellness garden

Students at Sutton Coldfield College will be enriched with positivity and wellness, thanks to a “community wellbeing garden” inspired and set up by their Princes Trust team of learners and staff.

The inclusive garden area will also have a purpose built outside classroom, which has been designed to promote good mental health through the college.

To prepare the 30m x 12m area, that previously had an abundance of brambles, trees and shrubs, students tidied and cleaned the patch, and planted various seeds. Local community gardeners and tool hire company, Rhino Plant Ltd, also levelled off the area.

The students also ran various fundraising initiatives including selling face masks to the local community, to generate money for resources.

This new college initiative which began in October, welcomes students and teachers from different subject areas across the college. It was felt that the wellbeing garden and classroom, were especially needed to help combat some of the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking of his student experience with the Princes Trust project, Trade said: “I really liked being involved with the project, as it was very rewarding to me. It is all about working together as a team and doing something that will positively impact on the community.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and the support I received from the Princes Trust teaching staff was great.

“My goal is to work within property renovations in the future and feel that I have learned many skills on the project that will help me with this.”

Sian who also found the project rewarding said: “Being involved in this project definitely exceeded my expectations, as to be honest I didn’t initially feel that it would work for me.

“I really enjoyed activities like pruning the brambles and using a shovel to prepare the garden area.

“In the future, I want to work in the care industry, and feel that working on an initiative that focuses on the health and wellbeing of people, is an invaluable experience for me.”

Students chose to work together to create the wellbeing garden, to help combat the stresses of everyday life.

The aim of the space is to help to provide real, practical and holistic solutions including mindfulness and mediation, to students who need extra support.

Dan Lloyd, Princes Trust Team Leader at Sutton Coldfield College, said: “We are so very proud to have this initiative that students can take pride in developing. The calm and safe place is a real opportunity for students as well as our staff, to learn and think about good mental health.

“Our mental health awareness sessions are geared towards giving learners the tools to be able to deal with and hopefully overcome a variety of issues including anxiety and depression.”

Restrictions during the pandemic meant that the Princes Trust students had to create a project that would be college based, whilst equally serving a real purpose for the community.

The college “wellness garden” has much scope for development. Ideas that the next team of Princes Trust students will explore include creating a seating area, adding fruits and vegetables to the patch that will be free to college users and using bamboo screening.

The Princes Trust, was set up to help young people (particularly those not already in education or training) to plan their next step ahead.

For more information about BMet’s Princes Trust courses or if you are a local business that wants to support the initiative, please visit our website: https://www.bmet.ac.uk/our-courses/courses-for-16-19-years/princes-trust/

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