A group of formerly homeless people supported by Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire is celebrating the benefits of gardening as part of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) takes place from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May 2020. This year’s theme focuses on the power and potential of ‘kindness’.

Our companions have been giving the charity’s garden in Binley a makeover, enjoying the benefits of being outdoors and the positive impact it can have on mental health and wellbeing.

Oscar (pictured), one of the formerly homeless people supported by Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, said:

“Gardening has helped me feel physically and mentally well, especially during lockdown.

“It’s really satisfying when you can look back and see what’s been achieved. It just makes you want to go out and do more.”

Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire supports 18 formerly homeless people by providing them with accommodation, support, training and work in a community setting. Our charity runs a charity store on Red Lane in Coventry, selling donated and upcycled furniture, household goods and vintage wares. Whilst the shop is currently temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the people we support have been keeping busy at home.

Geraldine Tsakirakis, Community Director of Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, said: “Everybody has have been spending many hours out in the fresh air, maintaining and developing our grounds and bringing back to life a previously neglected walled garden. We’re even looking to grow our own food soon. It’s so good to see how helpful gardening has been for people.”

As part of MHAW, the charity, Mental Health Foundation, is encouraging everyone to share stories of kindness on social media during the week using the tags #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. For more information visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk