A community garden in Hainault is running an “ecotherapy” project to help people with mental health issues improve their wellbeing and boost their confidence.

Forest Farm Peace Garden (FFPG) has received an £85,000 grant from City Bridge Trust for the scheme, which offers participants the opportunity to take part in mindful outdoor activities such as gardening, harvesting and cooking.

FFPG project manager Kate Allardyce said the sessions help people “gain the confidence to do things they never thought possible before”.

Ilford Recorder: Planting at Forest Farm Peace GardenPlanting at Forest Farm Peace Garden (Image: Forest Farm Peace Garden)

She said: “Some have said they’ve tried lots of different therapies but coming to the garden is the thing that has helped them most.”

The funding will also be used to stage community events and educational workshops at the peace garden, and to train "buddy" volunteers who work alongside people with mental health needs.

Ilford Recorder: Giles Shilson, chairman of City Bridge TrustGiles Shilson, chairman of City Bridge Trust (Image: Patrick Balls Photography)

Giles Shilson, chairman of City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, said: “There’s a lot of evidence that being in nature, connecting with other people and being physically active outdoors has significant benefits for mental and physical health.”