Residents dig in at Hemel drug treatment centre

Gardening work at Oxygen Recovery in Hemel
Gardening work at Oxygen Recovery in Hemel

Community charity Groundwork Hertfordshire has supported residents of the Druglink Oxygen Recovery Centre in Hemel to transform their communal garden.

More than 20 clients worked with Groundwork members once a week for 10 weeks, to transform the garden as part of the Pathways to Recovery project, thanks to funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tesco Bags of Help and HAFLS.

The project began in January to build the confidence and resilience of participants, to prevent addiction relapse and subsequent reoffending.

Over the course of the project, residents and Groundwork members cleared and tidied the area, laid pathways, built composters, planters and raised beds as well as planted various vegetables and flowers.

Groundwork project officer Sam Harbour said: “Our project has transformed an unused, overgrown garden into an area that the group are very proud of.

“This has assisted residents by teaching them new skills as well as improving their aspiration, confidence, and motivation.”

Oxygen client Jamie, aged in his 50s, said: “I am in rehab as I’ve got myself into a lot of trouble with alcohol and drugs. I’m here to deal with a lot of past experiences and try and change my life.”

“It’s showed me that avoiding things is more of the issue than actually getting on with things in life because this has been a bit of a pattern over the years. The reward actually far outweighs the issue with getting on with it.

“The best bit has been working with the rest of the rehab and building a team. It’s been good, it’s built companionship and fellowship.

“I’ll take away a bit of pride in myself for getting on with something that I didn’t particularly want to do at the start. Gardening’s never been a part of my life, but I’ll take away a lot of pleasure and a lot of gratitude as well.”

Caroline, aged 37, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the course. It’s been really good for my fitness and it’s also been really beneficial for me to learn new skills in gardening.”

“I’ve enjoyed planting and I’ve enjoyed doing some edging. I’ve also enjoyed using some of the electrical machinery.

“I definitely will be doing some planting of my own because I really enjoyed making the planters.

“I think I’ve taken a lot away from it and I really enjoyed it. I put my all into it.”