Grounded Ecotherapy was founded in 2005 by Paul Pulford and Kelvin Barton. Paul had been living in a Providence Row Housing Association hostel in Hackney Road after living on the streets for seven years. Kelvin was working for Providence Row Housing Association as a Mental Health Co-ordinator and met Paul whilst in that role. With encouragement and support from PRHA, Paul created a small garden in the hostel grounds. Paul had always enjoyed gardening. He used to tend his parents garden as a child because his father had Polio and could not do it himself. Paul found that he enjoyed getting his hands into the earth and ‘Grounding’ himself.
Kelvin and Paul had often discussed the positives link between horticulture and better mental health and well-being and Kelvin had always wanted to do something other than signpost people onto other services and create a project that would help those involved with it improve their mental and physical well-being. Another aim was to help those who, because of issues with substance misuse, mental health difficulties or lived experience of homelessness, may have become marginalized from society and to help to reduce such isolation by offering a safe, friendly, supportive environment for volunteers to enjoy.
Grounded Ecotherapy has won a RHS Silver Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show and in partnership with the Eden Project and Southbank Centre built the Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden on London’s Southbank, which is currently in it’s 5th season and that it maintains all year round.