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Cultivating calm

  • Inspiring new green space for people receiving treatment for mental health conditions and addiction
  • Evidence shows mental health benefits of gardens
  • Development adds to the environmental sustainability of the hospital

Work is well underway on creating an outdoor space for therapeutic activities such as yoga and mindfulness sessions at Priory Hospital, Woking. The gardens will contain welcoming areas for visitors and quiet corners for relaxation and contemplation.

A 2016 report by The King’s Fund found that “gardens are closely related to health and wellbeing across the life-course”, and “evidence shows that gardens and gardening are particularly important for mental health”.

Hospital Director, Pete Watt, explained; “There is endless evidence of the benefits of outdoor space and being able to connect with nature and we feel very lucky that here, in our little spot of Surrey countryside, we have been able to provide this to our patients as part of their recovery.”

The Garden Project will include a “growing zone” which aims to produce fruit, vegetables and herbs to allow the Hospital kitchens to be 30% self-sufficient by 2021, potentially increasing to 75% within the next five years.

Around 25 trees will also be planted during the first year, contributing to a planned reduction in the carbon footprint of Priory Woking.

Work started in February, just before “lockdown” was announced and has continued over the last 4 months, with impressive results already beginning to bloom.

Pete Watt said; “Within days of work commencing, we could all see the gardens starting to take shape, the lawns were embedded and the woodland was cleared and it literally felt we had room to breathe. Several weeks on, we’ve even noticed members of the public - often taking their daily ‘lockdown exercise’ along a bridleway that runs close to our grounds - stopping to take a look at how well the gardens have progressed.”

He added; “As we look ahead to a potentially prolonged period of social distancing, this new outdoor space will mean that family members will be able to visit our grounds and spend time with their loved one in a safe, comfortable and sunny space, which we know can be a very valuable part of their recovery.”

Set in the quiet Surrey village of Knaphill, the hospital cares for people suffering from addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, and bipolar disorder.

The evidence-based treatment programmes are delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of leading psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and other highly qualified addiction and mental health specialists. Patients can receive fast access to specialist, person-centered treatment, empowering them to improve their wellbeing and resume a healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable life.



About Priory Group

The Priory Group is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK, caring for around 30,000 people a year for conditions including depression, anxiety, drugs and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harming. The Group is organised into four divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, adult care and the Middle East. The Priory Group is owned by NASDAQ-listed Acadia Healthcare, which is recognised as a global leader in behavioural health.

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