01 Jan 2018 Health & Wellbeing Academy creates "wellness" garden

Swansea University's College of Human & Health Sciences are working with the community to develop their Health & wellbing Academy on the Singleton campus.

The Academy has an unused outdoor space which they are turning into a wellbeing project created “for service users by service users".

The outdoor space includes a large pond and the space is in desperate need of renovation. Julia Pridmore, Director of the Health and Wellbeing Academy is working with colleagues from the University Estates team; Down to Earth - a not for profit organisation; and the ABMU Health Board neuro rehabilitation team on a renovation project that will transform this space into an inspirational wellbeing garden.

The project will deliver neuro rehabilitation for patients, engage community groups and we are also delighted to welcome staff and student volunteers.

Neuro rehabilitation is needed after a serious event, such as a severe spinal injury, brain injury or stroke. It helps the injured person and their family establish and negotiate their new way of living by enhancing their skills and helping them work at the highest level of independence possible. This encourages the injured person to rebuild self-esteem and encourages a more positive mood.

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Dr Zoe Fisher, Clinical Psychologist in the Traumatic Brain Injury Service sees a number of benefits of the project: "We would like to use the pond project as an opportunity to create a context for ‘real world’ neuro rehabilitation for people affected by acquired brain injury.

"Often after serious brain injury, return to work or previous hobbies is not always possible. People can become isolated and poor adjustment & mental health follows. There is a dearth of opportunities for service users to contribute to their communities in a meaningful way and there is a lack of understanding in the community about brain injury.

"Our shared goal is to facilitate social integration and create a context for people affected by brain injury to use their considerable talents and strengths, forge supportive relationships and gain a sense of mastery and meaning in their lives.

"Clinicians from ABMU will work with service users to help them achieve their individual neuro-rehabilitation goals in a real world setting. The project will also provide an opportunity for applied research exploring paths to health and wellbeing in a brain injury population.

"The project will not only benefit the health and wellbeing of those involved but will also create a space that can be used by future service users to learn about pathways to health and wellbeing."

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The health and wellbeing garden and pond will also be used for teaching and other health and wellbeing activities.

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