Blenheim announces charity of the year

By Sarah Edwards at

Blenheim is officially adopting Bridewell Gardens as its charity of the year for 2018.

Bridewell is a mental health recovery service which provides social and therapeutic horticulture in a working walled garden for adults living in Oxfordshire.
Their goal is to help people into jobs or voluntary roles in the wider community.

As part of its support, Blenheim will undertake a series of fundraising and awareness building activities and events throughout the year as well as forging closer links between their own gardening team and the Bridewell Gardeners and volunteers.

“Each year we collectively choose a charity of the year which is locally based and reflects the wishes and concerns of our own staff,” said Blenheim’s Head of Human Resources Sarah Morris.

“Mental health and wellbeing is something which affects all of us in one form or another at some time in our lives.

“Linking up with Bridewell is a tremendous opportunity both to support a great cause and also find out more to further improve our own in-house initiatives and we’re looking forward to sharing gardening and horticultural tips,” she added.

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) practitioners use gardening as a familiar hands-on activity to help individuals transform aspects of their lives. It’s goal-led and the focus is on overcoming barriers to recovery.

“Poor mental health is often isolating so teamwork and participation are important factors in recovery. A day at Bridewell means working alongside others in the garden and vineyard, rebuilding self-confidence through taking part in hands-on occupations,” said Ralph Raistrick, Bridewell’s General Manager.
“Being at Bridewell gives people meaningful experiences and a sense of achievement and this, coupled with individual recovery plans and support from our trained practitioners is why Bridewell works.

“We are very good at helping people overcome barriers and move on to a more active life,” he added.
Last year Blenheim staff raised £14,500 for Maggie’s Oxford.

• To find out more about Bridewell Gardens visit