Dorset estate agent Meyers has drawn on the tragic suicide of its founder’s father to launch a charity project combining gardening and mental health.
The agent is working with mental health charity Dorset Mind on The GAP Project, which provides a gardening space for the local community to tend and develop allotments in Dorchester.
For the past 12 months, the agency has pledged at least £50 from each sale and let it has received to fund the project and has acquired three plots at Dorchester’s Louds Mill Allotments.
The first phase involves clearing the under-developed and overgrown plots and has been supported by local firms such as HB Gardening, Cougar Fencing, Zoe Barnish, Clover Clean and HK Law.
Meyers will continue to add at least £50 for every one of its property transactions to the fund and is also keen to speak to other businesses that may be able to offer help or sponsorship.
The first of the plots will become an eco-garden with seating and wild flowers, which will be a space for reflection, mindfulness and relaxation.
The second plot will become a working garden for growing fruit and vegetables and the third will have a poly tunnel, ideal for the more experienced gardeners and those who enjoy the nurturing process of growing other produce.
All three gardens will be places where people can meet, relax and refresh, with support provided by Dorset Mind. The GAP Project also hopes to give people the skills to return to work or training by broadening their networks.
Claire Meyer, founder of the agency, said: “Knowing that The GAP Project is going to enhance the lives of people in the community on a much bigger scale is just an amazing feeling: we feel very fortunate to be able to bring this project to life.
“Behind the idea of the project are some very personal reasons to us, one being in memory of my Dad who sadly died when I was very young due to suicide.
“We hope this project will support people in our community who need nurturing and encouraging in providing a safe, caring environment whilst improving and supporting better mental health. I’m so grateful to everyone involved so far.”
Dee Swinton, income generation and marketing manager at Dorset Mind, added: “We are very excited about The GAP Project.
“For the first time, we’re able to offer eco-therapy activities in welcoming outdoor spaces designed exactly for this purpose – helping support people experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges.
“Our volunteers and participants are really going to thrive from the opportunities in this environment.”
Meyers and Dorset Mind are currently looking for volunteers and donations of gardening equipment to help in their continued efforts to get the land ready, as well as sponsorship to make this project a lasting success for the community.