Natural World Products (NWP) has partnered with the Belfast Trust to support the provision of key services for those experiencing mental ill health during COVID-19.
The firm which converts household food and garden waste into organic, peat-free compost has donated the equivalent of over 1,500 bags of its New Leaf Compost product for use by Day Opportunities centres across Belfast.
The compost has facilitated the creation of a horticulture garden at the Everton Complex in north Belfast and has assisted with the creation of surrounding outdoor gardening spaces for complexes at Ravenhill in south Belfast and Whiterock.
NWP General Manager Patrick Kelly said: “Having worked with the Trust previously supplying several hundred tonnes of compost for an Acute Inpatient Mental Health facility, we learned a lot about their work with Day Opportunities, and so we wanted to donate our compost this time to assist with its services.
“With the Everton Complex helping around 200 people every year for the past 30 years, we were honoured to play a part in the supply of vital mental health services to those within our very own community during such challenging times.
“It’s satisfying to know that the produce that will eventually grow from using our compost in the horticultural garden will then be utilised on site by service users.
Head of North Belfast Day Opportunities Suzanne Wilson said: “NWP’s donation of New Leaf Compost has supported the development of a mental health garden helping highlight the many benefits associated with horticultural therapy.
“The produce will be put to great use through our various activities here at Day Opportunities including our ‘Cook It’ programme. These activities offer practical, creative and therapeutic support for our service users and provide a range of opportunities for them.
“There is a range of research supporting the idea that spending time outside is good for our bodies and our minds. It has been shown that horticultural therapy can help reduce depression, anxiety, and stress through the release of mood-enhancing endorphins as well improve self-esteem, self-confidence, and communication skills.
“North Belfast Day Opportunities provides a stepping-stone for our users helping to facilitate their personal rehabilitation and equip them for normal life and we are grateful to NWP for their continued support.”
Patrick added: “At NWP, we are proud of our community roots, so it is especially rewarding to see our compost make such tangible benefits to people within our society. It’s the definition of a circular economy and we are proud to be a part of it.”
The firm processes 200 thousand tonnes of food and garden waste annually, which is then converted into high quality organic compost to be used by councils, agri-growers, and the horticultural sector across Northern Ireland and further afield.