On Tuesday, veterans and students involved in the Chelsea Flower Show project met Matt Keightley, the award-winning gardener who designed the Hope on the Horizon garden at Colchester Recovery Centre.
Not only does his brother currently serve, Matt also has seen through Help for Heroes’ gardening projects what a difference it can make to the lives of those who take part in it.
Matt said: “My first experience and where my passion started with horticultural therapy and wellbeing within gardening was with Help for Heroes. For me, the thing that stands out as one of the true benefits of gardening is how it can distract you from negative thoughts. You can create something beautiful and give people a reason to go out in the garden. Even if it’s momentarily, it can stop people thinking about everyday anxieties.”
The veterans had the chance to not only quiz Matt on all thing flowers but also explain to him about how getting involved in horticulture has changed their lives. Gill Parker, who served in the Air Force, explained to Matt how her confidence has grown since she first took part in the City & Guilds Horticulture Course at Tedworth House Recovery Centre last year.Find out more about the project here