Local ecotherapy project 'Grounded' had a special visitor yesterday as the Chief Executive of Veolia Environmental Services, the UK's leading recycling and waste management company, spent the day volunteering with the group as part of the company's partnership with mental health charity Mind.
Jean-Dominique Mallet joined the group to help with their maintenance of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, clearing weeds with local volunteers including Paul Pulford.
Grounded, which is funded by Mind's Ecominds project and has previously received a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, supports adults with experience of mental distress and substance misuse problems. Run by Providence Row Housing Association, the scheme uses the benefits of nature to aid recovery, building and maintaining green spaces throughout the local area. The team has previously worked with the Eden project on two silver medal winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Veolia Environmental Services is also giving something back to local communities all around the UK. With over 12,000 members of staff they are all encouraged to spend a half day working in their local community or charitable organisation of their choice, amounting to 6,000 days each year across the whole company.
Jean-Dominique Mallet Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Environmental Services said:
"I've had a fantastic day with the Grounded team, it's been great to get my hands dirty and actually see one of the initiatives in action. This scheme is doing fantastic work in the local community and I hope that, through Veolia's partnership with Mind, we can raise awareness of these projects to encourage many more people to volunteer."
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"Grounded is a shining example of the positive effect that ecotherapy and the natural world can have on mental wellbeing. Spending time outdoors is hugely beneficial for mental health and this initiative shows how it can help people to recover from mental health problems."
The Charity of the Year partnership between Mind and Veolia aims to raise £100,000 as well as providing opportunities for Veolia staff to volunteer for Mind at Ecominds projects like Ground. The Ecominds funding scheme helps thousands of people with direct experience of mental distress, involving them in local environmental projects to improve confidence and self-esteem. This scheme is run by Mind thanks to £7.5 million of BIG Lottery Funding.