Wildflowers are ‘Heaven Scent’ for mental health project

Endangered wildflowers are proving the surprise new key to helping people in Cornwall and Scilly recover from severe mental ill health, as part of a new project from a Cornish charity.

Pentreath Industries have just launched their ‘Heaven Scent’ project with the help of a £427,000 European grant from Objective One.

Over the next two years the project will give 100 beneficiaries a chance to learn about horticulture and environmental conservation while working at locations around Cornwall and Scilly. The project is also being supported by Duchy College.

Trainees are already working at the charity’s wholesale nursery near St Austell where they are learning to grow wildflowers – some of which are endangered species. Nursery manager Jenny McGann said: “It’s wonderful – we are managing to help preserve rare flowers at the same time as teaching people new skills and helping their recovery.”

Other locations used by the charity as practical vocational training areas include working with the Camborne Allotment Association developing access to the allotments, planting approximately 1,000 trees at Halvasso, Penryn with the Bishops Forum and building stiles for footpaths in Hayle.

Pentreath’s chief executive Penny Robertson explained: “Mental ill health affects one in four people in England every year but unfortunately being labelled as having mental illness still leads to a lot of negative assumptions about the competence and character of the person affected.

“Being able to work makes an enormous contribution to rebuilding people’s self-esteem – it helps demonstrate to individuals and the community the willingness and ambition of people who have experienced mental ill health that they can be productive and put something back into society.”

The Heaven Scent project is targeted at people with, or recovering from, severe and enduring mental ill health who have been referred from the psychiatric service and at trainees who have been identified as requiring specialist support by New Deal personal advisers.

Penny Robertson said: “The Heaven Scent project is a wonderful opportunity to show just what people can achieve when they are determined to go to work, and are provided not only with interesting and stimulating environmental projects, but also with the outstanding resources of the Duchy College.”

“As well as helping trainees to build up their confidence and skills, they will also be able to earn qualifications in skills such as horticulture, floristry or food hygiene.”

Objective One’s deputy programme director Carleen Kelemen welcomed the project. She said: “The programme sets out to promote equality of opportunity and increase the participation of disabled people in the workplace. Projects like Heaven Scent are helping us to fulfil those goals.”

Miss Kelemen added: “There is also a significant benefit to providing support to people recovering from mental ill health. I understand that each year mental ill health costs this country around £11.8 billion in lost employment and productivity, with another £7.6 billion being paid in DSS benefits.

“By helping people to regain their self-esteem, learn new skills and make a contribution to the economy we are producing a real financial saving to society as well as helping the individuals concerned to rebuild their lives.”


Editors notes:

Photo/interview opportunity

Jenny McGann from Pentreath Industries will be available at Heaven Scent Nursery, Tregrehan Mills, St Austell, between 10am and 3pm on Thursday 12th and Tuesday 17th to discuss the project.

There will also be an opportunity to take pictures at this site. Contact Jen Tremayne on 01726 850565.


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388