The Therapy Garden doors were first opened in 1998 by Normandy resident Ann Adey, after seeing first-hand the benefits gardening had on a friend overcoming an anxiety disorder. Since then, the centre has developed from a small local community project into an established charity.

Area History

At the turn of the century, the centre and surrounding areas were part of the working Manor Fruit Farm producing apples and plums amongst other fruits. During World War Two, the land girls took over the day to day running of the farm to ensure its continuation after the war although unfortunately it closed not long after.

The area was neglected until Guildford Borough Council took ownership, passing the use of the land to Normandy Parish Council. Around this time, Ann had started to fundraise for a horticultural therapy project and confirmed commitment from the council to sign a lease for the centre to be created. Not long after this, the Village Hall, Bowling Club and Archery Club were also developed, bringing a new focus to Normandy Village.

Centre History

1998 – Lease is agreed and work officially begins on fundraising, land development and public awareness of the project

2001 – The first building is erected, marking an important stage in the centre development. This is closely followed by a donation from The British Association of Landscape Industries to build a £50,000 sensory garden, offering smell, touch and sound to the partially sighted and disabled.

2002 – The first poly-tunnel is built creating a new focal point in the garden.

2003 – Centre is officially opened by TV gardener Charlie Dimmock and wins the Mayor’s Award for Disability Access. A new initiative, Green School, began to offer students with additional needs a C&G qualification in horticulture.

2004 – Wins a Gold award in the community project category in the Guildford in Bloom competition

2005 – Wins Gold award in the community project category in the Guildford in Bloom competition for the second year running

2008 – Wins Mayor’s Award for Disabled Access

2012 – After considerable fundraising, a new building is opened by HRH the Countess of Wessex

2014 – The Therapy Garden Shop opens selling fruit, vegetables, plants grown in the garden and alongside a range of small crafts. This has created an opportunity for local residents to interact with the centre as well as creating a revenue stream with all profits going back into the charity.

2015 – The Stroke of Genius project begins

2017 – Normandy Parish Council gives permission for the lease to extend the boundary enabling additional clients to join us and development of existing and new indicatives to take place. The centre now employs 10 people (4TE), has around 40 volunteers without whom the centre wouldn’t be viable and 40 weekly clients and 22 monthly.