Redhall, the garden you've probably never heard of.
Redhall is one of those secret gardens. Those well-kept secrets that are worth tracking down.
Not only for lovers of horticulture, who wish to experience the interesting floral displays and wildlife that exist within this well-kept 6 acre estate, but also for those in need of escape who are seeking to rebuild their lives.
Redhall exists for people with mental health problems. It offers those in need training in horticulture, conservation, maintenance and life skills.
Simon is one of those advocates. An incredibly talented furniture designer and former architect who’s world was turned upside down when after a difficult period in his life, he was diagnosed with bipolar.
It was whilst seeing his occupational therapist as part of his recovery that he chanced upon a leaflet about the gardens in the waiting room.
"Funnily, it was somewhere I had walked past many times as I walked along the Water of Leith. I was always intrigued by it. So I discussed it with my therapist, and we both felt it was what I needed."
Many of Simon’s colleagues at Redhall were people who had gone through similar traumatic experiences. "They were from all backgrounds, it showed me that mental health problems cut across class, race and gender."
Simon explains, Redhall was the place where he felt accepted and not judged.
And Simon enjoyed the structure. Redhall has helped Simon go on and rebuild his life, and he now enjoys working with the National Galleries of Scotland. Incremental steps back to a life he wanted to live.
[Redhall] showed me that mental health problems cut across class, race and gender.
He also started creative work again with commissions for his furniture and exhibiting again.
But what Simon reflects on is the sense of achievement from what he was doing at Redhall.
"Redhall gave me a connection with nature and the seasons. I was able to work too and activity helped. It was like mindfulness being able to live in the moment. I was able to do a specific task alongside other people. The work allowed me to escape the negative thoughts I was bound up in."
Redhall is an important service for SAMH.
It promotes a safe environment where individuals can learn to deal with the challenges of recovering from enduring mental health problems, encouraging lifestyles which are positive and sustainable. It works closely with people to improve their confidence and capability to assist with their recovery.
And the work is not only confined to the garden. There is the opportunity to learn basic computing or gain their ECDL qualification.
Many people leaving move on to College, to gain further skills and qualifications. Some have gone into volunteering, employment or returned to their jobs. Each better equipped to manage their mental health with some of the tools they have learnt from their time at Redhall.
Simon’s story is testament to this.
People can self-refer to the project but also need a reference from a health professional.
Redhall Walled Garden is a beautiful 18th century walled garden offering training in horticulture, conservation, maintenance skills, ITC/admin and life skills for people with mental health problems. Redhall Walled Garden is open to the public Monday-Friday 9am-4pm - drop by enjoy the garden; or purchase plants, compost and woodchip. For more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org