Meanwhile Wildlife Garden
Meanwhile Wildlife Garden was given the UK-MAB Urban Wildlife Award for Excellence in 2008 for their work aimed at the combined enhancement of urban wildlife and of people’s mental and physical health. The garden exemplifies a highly valuable urban green space which has also brought about community involvement and cohesiveness and abated stigma.
Meanwhile Wildlife Garden is a 3000 m2 therapeutic and training garden managed by Kensington & Chelsea Mind, an independent charity and affiliated member of MIND, the National Mental Health Federation. It is part of a larger public open space located in a built up urban area in the Kensington and Chelsea Borough of London, with the Grand Union Canal on one side and residential habitation and the high-rise Modernist listed building Trellick Towers on the other. Access to the Meanwhile Wildlife Garden is by proceeding through to a wooden bridge, towards the end of the 12,000 m2 of green corridor called ‘Meanwhile’.
This public green space has become a showcase of good practice in terms of public health, ecological education and social transformation. Its participants are protagonists of stewardship of a natural resource, contributing to tackling current global environmental challenges at the local level. They also provide a ‘natural health service’ for their community and themselves by keeping this small space of wildlife healthy, accessible, recreational and educational.
It is managed as a purely ‘wild’ garden with a pond, natural hedging and some areas dedicated to culinary and medicinal herbs. The arboreal and botanical collection of plants is mainly native and classified as wild flora. The management of the garden is particularly sensitive to creating a wildlife habitat for local species and in promoting biodiversity in this inner city area. Its chief goal is to focus on the therapeutic and vocational benefits for individuals who attend to this green space on a daily basis as a form of personal health recovery. Their activities are directed at being both self-healing and ecological, an approach referred to as ecohealth and ecotherapy.
The Meanwhile Wildlife Garden is a public and multifunctional urban green space. It promotes diversity in every sense and social facet of the word. What happens at Meanwhile is a series of phases of personal, group and environmental development, which goes outside the needs and wishes of the participants or the garden; it interacts with and draws in the general public, it interacts across the boundaries of built environment and wildlife and with those of human and non-human habitats.
Kensington and Chelsea MIND,
Office 1, 7 Thorpe Close,
London W10 7XL.
020 8964 1333 ext 7