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Vitax donation helps rehabilitate lives of servicemen and women through horticulture
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Vitax donation helps rehabilitate lives of servicemen and women through horticulture

One of the world’s leading clinical rehabilitation centres for the armed forces is set to see its Horticultural Therapy programme grow with the support of Vitax.


The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Stanford Hall in Loughborough has received 100, 75 litre bags of Vitax Universal Q4 Grower Compost to help injured serving personnel on their road to recovery through the benefits of gardening.


Working in partnership with HighGround and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Vitax’s donation will support the Horticultural Therapy programme, an essential part of an individual’s rehabilitation journey.


To witness first-hand the difference its donation will make, Vitax was invited to tour DMRC and its outdoor gardens on Friday 13 March 2020, and to meet with the HighGround Horticultural Therapy team to learn how patients currently benefit from the programme.


Paul Gooding, Vitax’s chairman says: “DMRC is a fantastic facility and it is hugely rewarding to see what a difference gardening can make to both the mental health and physical wellbeing of servicemen and women who are currently undergoing Horticultural Therapy.


“We have worked with The Soldiers’ Charity for the past two years and are thrilled to work with one of its partners on such an innovative programme, which is changing lives as a result of alternative therapies.”


The DMRC combines neurological and complex trauma treatment with a full, state-of-the-art suite of rehabilitative facilities on one site, including advanced specialist care for amputations, serious or multiple fractures, muscular damage, spinal injuries and more. Its world-class neurological wing was funded by a £7 million grant from The Soldiers’ Charity.


Focusing on the therapeutic benefits of gardening, such as providing a sense of purpose, hope and achievement, Horticultural Therapy is popular amongst patients as Anna Baker Cresswell, executive director at HighGround Therapeutic Gardens at DMRC, explains: “Clinical rehabilitation is about getting people back to fitness, back to mobility and back to work after serious injury, and the use of Horticultural Therapy provides another pathway where certain clinically defined goals can be met.


“Since the magnificent new greenhouse was handed over to HighGround in March 2019, we have delivered 777 one-to-one sessions of Horticultural Therapy to 230 patients, as well as 51 group sessions, which are widely used for neurological patients.


“Vitax’s donation and The Soldiers’ Charity’s continued support will enable HighGround to continue its invaluable work to help servicemen and women return to service or onto the next stage of their lives.”


The addition of the garden and greenhouse at Stanford Hall are making a positive impact on lives, as Andy Wright from HighGround, commented: “Horticultural Therapy helps patients with functional skills such as bending and picking things up from different heights. They often find themselves talking to other patients too which is self-therapy and it’s good to offer others an ear to just listen.”


The DMRC is committed to providing the very best possible care for members of the armed forces who have been injured while serving their country.


To find out more about ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, visit:

To find out more about The DMRC programme, visit:

To find out more about HighGround, visit:

To find out more about Vitax, visit:


PIctured above, before social distancing measures came into place: 

Front row (left to right): Paul Gooding - chairman at Vitax, Jane Taylor (HighGround) and Sean Bonnington, national fundraising director at ABF The Soldiers' Charity

Back row (left to right): Anna Baker Cresswell - executive director at HighGround, Mark Butler (Vitax), Dr Heather Barrett-Mold OBE - Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, Andy Wright (HighGround)


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