Kendall Turner is director and founder of Bloom Sheffield, a community flower garden for women and girls. Kendall started Bloom in 2019, as she wanted to create a space where women could collaborate on an outdoor gardening project to improve mental health. Now, they sell their flowers in local markets, host open days and collaborate with charities.
“Everybody has mental health, and we all need to look after it! Positive mental health needs to be maintained, and we all must make time to care for ourselves. It is important that we speak openly about our experiences and reduce the stigma around mental health.”
The birth of Bloom Sheffield
I am a trained secondary school teacher, and have spent the past few years teaching in special schools.
A lot of my teaching experience is based in outdoor education, and I saw, first-hand the benefits of nature on mental health and wellbeing within an educational environment.
I have had an allotment, myself, for three years and would often go down there after work to regulate and work the land. I found this was so helpful in helping me manage my stress and anxiety levels, and thought how wonderful it would be to be able to share this with others.
This is where Bloom Sheffield began; as a tiny idea to open a safe space for women to come together to share skills, meet new people and feel good by doing something positive outdoors.
My role as director is a diverse one! I plan and deliver the open days and gardening groups, run all the social media platforms, answer lots of emails, and support our volunteers. I even manage to get a bit of gardening in there too!
Gardening and horticulture have been proven to reduce stress, improve mood and lower symptoms of anxiety.
Gardening provides outdoor, physical activity in a green space, and there have been studies that have shown that this sort of exercise boosts mood and self-esteem, compared to exercising indoors.
A community garden helps you meet new people and share skills. It engages you in meaningful tasks and helps you take your mind off your worries. It lets us nurture, care, and become resilient. And nothing beats the great sleep you will have after a long day in the garden!
The importance of positive mental health
Everybody has mental health, and we all need to look after it! Positive mental health needs to be maintained, and we all must make time to care for ourselves. It is important that we speak openly about our experiences and reduce the stigma around mental health.
We are particularly keen to promote positive mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has been a challenging and stressful time for everyone. It is important to be in tune with your health and emotions, and care for them in the best way for you.
We couldn’t have imagined how positively Bloom has been received by our community. We have lots of women returning to help in the garden, and in a year have worked with over 100 individuals. The feedback from our attendees has been wonderful, and we can’t wait to open up the garden again post lockdown.
Our open days
Our open days are for any women to attend, you do not need to have a mental health disorder.
They are low-pressure sessions, where we work together on maintaining and developing the garden.
There are always a variety of different activities to get involved in, and attendees are encouraged to do as much, or as little, as they like. You could expect some digging, weeding, planting, and tea drinking. There is always a welcoming team and someone to chat to!
Our open days are starting up again in August, and are open for any woman to attend.
We are having to limit the groups due to COVID-19 safety regulations, so a signup sheet is released in advance. This is sent out to our mailing list first, so we always encourage people to sign up to that if they are interested.
Bright future for Bloom
Moving forward we are hopefully looking forward to lots more open days and charity collaborations! We want to offer consistent sessions and opportunities for our community to be involved with the garden.
We are also currently looking for some more growing space, but that plan is still in motion!