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Bloom commendation for substance misuse recovery journey garden

 A substance misuse recovery journey garden, depicted as the ‘Colour Purple’ has received a commendation at this year’s Bloom event in Dublin.



A substance misuse recovery journey garden, depicted as the ‘Colour Purple’ has received a commendation at this year’s Bloom event in Dublin. Created by the HSE South East Community Healthcare’s South Tipperary substance misuse team and their service users, the group has been using a horticultural project as part of their recovery work.

Journey of recovery

The garden was installed in the Gardens and Horticulture area within Bloom, and the ‘Colour Purple’ was one of nine exhibits in the Postcard Gardens section. According to Sinead O’ Mahoney Carey, co-ordinator of the South Tipperary Substance misuse team, their “social and therapeutic horticulture programme in Clonmel is a very important part of substance misuse recovery. Our Bloom-focused postcard-garden project has been developed in the hands and minds of service users in recovery. The ‘Colour Purple’ portrays life stories and lived experiences, where the service user absorbs the evolution of knowledge and a willingness to embrace the light. This garden encapsulates a substance misuse journey of recovery, depicted from left to right in the planting scheme. It illustrates a pathway of discovery on the journey of social and therapeutic horticulture. While this involves hard work, physical activity and learning, there is always time too for a cup of tea.”

“We would like to thank the many people who helped and supported us in getting to this point, including our social therapeutic horticulturist Ruth Farrell, our substance misuse counsellor Eileen Bergin, our outreach worker on substance misuse and homeless Shane Burk, the Tipperary Education and Training Board, Youthwork Ireland Tipperary and the Glenconnor Garden Centre.”

Grace Rothwell, HSE South East Chief Officer, visited the centre in Clonmel in recent weeks and met all involved:

“As part of our primary care services in the southeast, our substance misuse teams provide a wide range of supports and are also engaged in ongoing awareness information campaigns and in drug education. Colleagues such as those working in our South Tipperary services, including in outreach facilities in Carrick on Suir, Cashel and Tipperary Town, promote wellness and recovery and work to improve the overall quality of life for individuals and their families struggling with substance misuse. The horticultural work being done at our centre in Clonmel proves very engaging and rewarding to its participants."

“We are all very pleased that their ‘Colour Purple’ creation got the commendation it deserved at the festival, in addition to national and international media attention. Bloom is an uplifting and innovative horticultural event, where such themes abound. It is wonderful that HSE colleagues and the service users they support were at the heart of it this year.”