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Groundbreaking ceremony commemorates new garden for Andover Mind

On Tuesday, February 27th, 2024, Andover Mind welcomed stakeholders and supporters to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Garden for Mind project.

This collaborative initiative, led by Andover Mind in partnership with Sparsholt College, and the Waitrose & Partners Leckford Estate, aims to promote mental wellbeing while raising awareness about climate change challenges and biodiversity loss.

The Garden for Mind project has been made possible thanks to significant support from the John Lewis Partnership Golden Jubilee Trust, who funded the secondment of Libby Hilling to work with Andover Mind as social value delivery manager, and Simplyhealth, who demonstrated a commitment to enhancing mental health, by donating £25,000.

The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr Philip Lashbrook along with Cllr Alison Johnstone, Andrew Hoad the Head of Leckford Estate, and Steven Pearson, Head of Communications from Simplyhealth, Ben Stokes, Vice Principal of Sparsholt College Group, Thomas Bell Director and Jon Edon Project Manager from TriAgg, the main contractor. The event marked not only the commencement of construction but also celebrated the power of conversation, community, and collaboration in driving meaningful change.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Libby Hilling shared her personal motivation behind the project: 

 “I came to this project with living experience of childhood grief and physical trauma. Knowing how life-changing events can impact both physical and mental health, and the importance of green spaces in supporting recovery and maintaining wellbeing is why I am so passionate about this project.”

Cllr Philip Lashbrook commented: 

“I’ve been so honoured to be invited here today to share in this incredible venture, which given the amount of time it’s taken to put together has been nothing short of a miracle. What Libby has achieved is just mind-blowing and it’s going to be absolutely terrific to come here when it’s completed and to see the fruit of all this hard work. In the current climate fundraising is very difficult and charities are really struggling so I’m glad Andover Mind will benefit from this because they do tremendous work in a time when people are starting to wake up to mental health and are realizing the impact it has.” 

To date over 60 organisations have contributed to this project by donating money, materials, expertise or physical labour in a bid to bring the Garden for Mind to life. With features such as a sensory garden, fruit and vegetable garden, nature pond, water feature and relaxing patio area, the garden aims to promote mental health awareness and improve wellbeing for individuals of all ages from across the Test Valley, whilst also educating on the need for environmental sustainability.

Looking ahead, the Garden for Mind is expected to officially open in July. In anticipation of this, Andover Mind are running a fundraising campaign entitled the Squiggle Appeal, offering supporters in the community the opportunity to be a part of the project by purchasing a handmade metal garden ornament in the shape of the Mind charity logo. The “squiggles”, made locally by Hurstbourne Forge, will be displayed as an art installation during the opening weeks of the Garden for Mind, before being available for collection by their owners to keep for their own gardens!

For more information about the Squiggle Appeal, Garden for Mind and ways to get involved, please visit