Growing Chrysalis hosts open day in Dundee

22nd March 2024

A therapeutic gardening service that has supported thousands of Dundee residents has hosted a community open day in a bid to secure future funding.

Growing Chrysalis, operated by SAMH (Scottish Action for Mental health), empowers the local community’s mental health and wellbeing through gardening and other outdoor activities. The service has supported more than 6,000 people since launching in 2021.

Based at Duntrune Community Garden in Broughty Ferry’s Dawson Park, Growing Chrysalis is a welcoming safe space for the community, providing a variety of nature based activities to help all generations discover ways to look after and improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Growing Chrysalis is currently seeking essential funding to continue supporting the local community, including launching a JustGiving page to help cover operational costs.

On Thursday, residents, businesses and councillors were invited to enjoy mindfulness sessions, tours of the garden, and an opportunity to chat with SAMH colleagues as well as the people they support. Sue Black, Team Leader at Growing Chrysalis, also discussed the positive impacts that gardens can have on our mental health and wellbeing.

Shoana Philp received support from the garden after experiencing a stroke and heart attack in 2021, which had a significant impact on her mental health. Since then, Shoana’s mental and physical health has recovered as she has met new people and learned new crafts and skills, including how to build bird boxes.

Shoana said: “It allowed me space to get better and be involved in the community.

“The garden has nurtured me as much as I have tried to nurture it.

“With the hectic pace of life sometimes, the magic of this garden is just being able to have a quiet moment in a safe space, sitting in the warmth of the sun surrounded by birdsong, greenery and friendly faces.”

Growing Chrysalis also fosters an inclusive environment and is supported by volunteer trainees of a mix of ages.

Shoana added: “I’ve watched toddlers and youngsters get such pleasure playing in our boat, mud kitchen, and checking out bugs and frogs in the ponds. I’ve watched my 91-year-old mum get such joy from the talking group that meet on a Thursday morning.”

Guests supporting the open day included Councillor Nadia El-Nakla, Depute Convener Climate, Environment and Biodiversity, who said: “I'm delighted to be able to come along to this event and hear about the positive impact this garden has had on so many people.

“This great gardening initiative has helped over 6,000 people in the city improve their mental health and wellbeing, which is simply incredible. The power of nature, mixed with community spirit, is invaluable to the City.”

Sue Black, Team Leader at Growing Chrysalis, said: “Growing Chrysalis is a vital tool for mental health recovery in Dundee. Since launching only a few years ago, we have seen first-hand the powerful benefits that the garden and its activities can have on our wellbeing, with more than 6,000 people supported by the project.

“We’re hoping to secure funding so that Growing Chrysalis can continue to operate and, most importantly, continue supporting people in Dundee with their mental health and wellbeing.”

Growing Chrysalis is an extension of the long-running Chrysalis service, which is funded by the Dundee Health & Social Care Partnership. The garden is open to the public between 9AM and 3:30PM, Monday to Thursday.