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Princess Royal opens therapeutic allotment


On Friday Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited a newly developed therapeutic allotment in Gloucester which is helping people with mental health conditions on their road to recovery.

The allotment is managed by service users, occupational therapists and other colleagues from the Montpellier Unit, part of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.  As patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the site and an opportunity to learn more about the benefits it brings to a wide range of people.

Victoria Woodruff, Senior Occupational Therapist and Exercise, Activity and Physical Health Team Leader, said: “The allotment is an amazing place which brings a lot of enjoyment and occupation to a large number of people. It’s a complete oasis in the middle of the city, where we can spend time alongside our service users enabling them to establish roles and routines, maintain existing skills and develop new ones.

“We were delighted to welcome The Princess Royal, particularly with her interest in occupational therapy, so that we could demonstrate the huge benefits the allotment and this type of therapeutic intervention can bring to have a big impact in people’s lives.”

HRH PRINCESS ROYAL AT THERAPEUTIC ALLOTMENT GLOUCESTER4 | Princess Royal opens therapeutic allotment
Picture: Paul Nicholls.

The allotment site has been significantly refurbishment in recent months, including new fishponds, a nature area, a chicken run and an aviary.  As well as areas to grow and cultivate produce, which is used in cookery programmes. As well as being used by the services users from the Montpellier Unit, other teams and local services now also benefit from the spending time in the allotment and developing their skills.

Future plans include a new building where more activities can take place especially during bad weather, and work to make the site fully accessible to people with limited mobility.

Odeth Richardson, Chair of Council, Royal College of Occupational Therapists said: “We’re delighted that our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal has today seen an exceptional example of how an occupational therapist-led service can help you achieve the breakthroughs you need to elevate your everyday life.

“I’m impressed and proud of what’s been achieved and how it’s been inspired by the visions of occupational therapist, Victoria Woodruff, and current service users who are at the forefront of all decision making and planning for the site.

“Every day across the UK, occupational therapists change lives for the better. They look at relationships between the activities you do every day – your occupations – alongside the challenges you face and your environment. The Montpellier Therapeutic Allotment provides a supportive and productive environment where people can engage in meaningful occupation which will help them achieve breakthroughs.”

Pictures by Paul Nicholls

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