Who are we?
Jim Sikorski worked for many years as a local GP and lead on mental health for his practice. Through his work he came to see that conventional medical care could only help so much for people living with mental ill health. When speaking to his patients he kept hearing the same thing – that they were isolated and had been denied their sense of purpose due to their illness. This inspired him and his wife Sarah to set up Sydenham Garden to provide genuine community for those who need it the most.
Sydenham Garden has 20 years’ experience of running horticultural and art-based therapy groups. We provide vital support for people living with mental and physical ill-health and those living with early stage dementia. Using our beautiful gardens we offer a unique well-being setting with nature conservation, education and a welcoming local community at its heart.
What do we grow and sell?
Set in our thriving Market Garden in site in South East London, Sydenham Garden Flowers is an exciting new addition to Sydenham Garden. We grow a wide variety of seasonal cut flowers and foliage here on-site to supply to our local blossoming business community. We source seeds from a small network of specialty UK seed farmers. We do not use artificial chemicals and limit single use plastics to an absolute minimum. Our flowers are lovingly grown and cared for in the most sustainable way possible.
We run a number of workshops for those interested in how to produce ‘grow your own’ cut flowers or those wishing to explore their creative nature by trying out new floristry skills.
How are we doing it?
Our flower farm is run as a social enterprise. In the form of supported employment and through our horticultural therapy sessions we provide expertise and a safe & inclusive environment. This helps people gain valuable skills and overcome barriers to enable them to achieve their full potential. Involvement in our social enterprise activity aims to improve employability prospects and provide local, community-relevant training and opportunities.
People can self-refer or are referred to us by local community organisations and health care professionals. We use an integrative approach where those with different health or social needs come together to work with volunteers from the local community. All of our profits go back into our charitable organisation.
Locally grown flowers are long lasting and great quality. They have up to 90% lower carbon footprint than imported flowers. By choosing our Sydenham Garden cut flowers you are not only not helping care for the environment but for our local community, local wildlife and local economy too.
Every year we employee 2 people who have experienced barriers to work due to mental health issues. We pay a fair wage and provide individually tailored support to help our trainees secure permeant employment.