About Us

What is Social & Therapeutic Horticulture (STH)?

Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.

What's the story behind Serenity STH

Serenity was set up by Dr Satinder Sanghera, a former GP from Weardale and former Clinical Commissioning Chair for Durham Dales. Satinder became a doctor despite suffering a dense stroke at age 20 and with disability went on to have an extensive career in General Practice, clinical commissioning, mental health and now as a horticultural therapist.

Alongside husband Mike an expert in DIY, the couple have installed a vegetable and cut flower area with raised beds, greenhouse, polytunnel, workshop for tea breaks and disabled ecotoilet. A keen gardener for 30 years, Satinder designed and executed further works on the garden which has since opened to the public under the National Garden Scheme. From here and with a dedicated team of volunteer therapists, Satinder runs horticultural therapy for adults with physical disability, long term health conditions and mental illness. building a set of activities for each client to improve their particular health needs, and to work on personalised goals. Gardening is used to bring about positive changes in the lives of adults living with physical disability, chronic illness or social isolation. Our garden is peaceful and restorative and it provides a special place for rehabilitation and recovery. Being given the opportunity to develop an interest in gardening gives the clients benefits that can last a lifetime.

Additional activities

We offer additional wellbeing activities including tai chi, yoga, mindfulness, music, poultry management and flower arranging. We also offer sessions on the principles of Bach herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture and bee keeping . Our yellow labrador Bonnie arrived as a young pup in 2019. Our clients love her as she is gentle and provides endless amusement. We have sheep and you will see a few newborn lambs frolicking about during May.

Who is eligible to attend?

Any one over the age of 18 with a long term health condition and if you are unable to self care you can attend as long as your carer is present. Our site includes high raised beds for those who wish to garden whilst seated as well as a poly tunnel, greenhouse, low raised beds and a workshop for meetings and tea breaks. We also have a disabled compost toilet on site.

How can I apply?

Our contact page provides all the information you need. Please note that owing to the bespoke nature of our therapy we recommend you book early for 2020 as places are limited.

When are the sessions?

You can join our morning group every Tuesday between May and August 2020, see our calendar for more information.

We ask that as far as is possible, clients commit to attending every session over the 14 weeks. We ask that you arrive promptly so we can start the session with some gentle stretching and breathing exercises.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee to attend but we ask for a voluntary donation towards light refreshments particularly when in attendance with a carer.

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