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St Mary’s Secret Garden - natural wellbeing service for individuals with support needs

St Mary’s Secret Garden,
50 Pearson Street,
E2 8EL
Telephone: 020 7739 2965


Who we are:

St Mary’s Secret Garden is an open access garden in Haggerston - Hackney that has been providing community access and horticultural therapy to people who are socially excluded or disadvantaged for over 25 years. 

St Mary’s Secret garden image 1

What we do:

The garden provides a freely available open space and works with the local community in a range of ways offering different projects for example:

"Come Gardening! a natural wellbeing service for individuals with support needs."

  • We work with local tenant resident associations to provide gardening support.
  • We sell plants and produce that we have raised and nurtured.
  • We organise workshops for schools and community groups.

St Mary’s Secret garden image 2


Horticultural Therapy

We provide Horticultural Therapy for people with disabilities, those experiencing mental health issues and older residents with long term health needs

We use nature, our garden and gardening as a means to improve skills, wellbeing and create a sense of belonging.

Gardening in the community with a mix of different people creates opportunities to make good friends and feel a sense of achievement. Our holistic approach supports you with an allocated key worker and support from our lovely experienced volunteers.

Courses and training

We are a City and Guilds Approved Training Centre and provide quality training for people living in Hackney (and beyond) offering opportunities for them to gain accredited qualifications in skills for working life and horticulture.

We offer both accredited and non-accredited training courses to people in Hackney who are experiencing issues preventing them accessing paid work.

Both day and half day placements are available and currently take place on Wednesdays and Fridays. There is a charge for day and half day placements (see costs).


Volunteering opportunities are available for some local people recovering from health issues.



We operate a sliding scale of charges for different activities ranging from £20 - £70 depending on the activity and length of session.  

The cost of individual support needs will be assessed during a free taster session.

We are happy to offer more than 1 free taster for autistic adults.

We will look together at the goals and aims for participants and, for example if individuals would like to study for and gain accredited vocational awards like a City & Guilds Entry Level Skills for Working Life or Level 1 Horticultural Skills, the charge for these courses would be at a higher rate than someone who does not want to study for and gain qualifications with us.

Payment options are available so please contact the garden's director to find out more. 

Record Last Updated on: 21/03/2019

Local Offer


St Mary's Secret Garden is a member of Social Farms and Gardens

  • Staff come from a range of professional backgrounds: Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Health & Social Care and
  • Horticultural Therapy.

Different staff have different qualifications in:

  • Horticulture,
  • teacher trainers,
  • assessing vocational qualifications.

All our supporting volunteers are local people with varied backgrounds which include:

  • teaching, teaching assistants  
  • qualified gardeners or
  • keen amateurs

Our staff and supporting volunteers have been vetted and have current enhanced DBS checks

Time / Date Details

Session Information

Come Gardening Wellbeing Service: Wednesday & Friday

Other Details

Who is eligible?

Those wishing to attend the project currently need to:

  • be aged 16 years or over
  • able to access SEND or other personal budget

Referral required?


Referral Details

You can be referred to St Mary’s Secret Garden by:

  • GPs or other health professionals
  • a social worker
  • We accept referrals from individuals themselves (self-referrals)
  • Parents and carers may also refer to our services

Free taster sessions can be booked.

Contact the service directly using the details above for more information.

What to do if you have a complaint

We have a complaints and comments procedure which is available on request.

Initial route is via:

  • individuals own keyworker or
  • Director of the charity, Paula Yassine

Trustee members with specific roles:

  • Chair - Megan Bell will be available to discuss feedback and complaints
  • Paula Yassine is the named lead for safeguarding 

Can parents & young people buy this service as part of their SEND personal budget?


SEND Personal Budget - Notes

Service can be purchased using personal budgets. Opportunity will be available to study and gain qualifications in: - Entry Level Skills for Working Life and/ or - Horticulture

How to Get Here

Local Bus Numbers: 394, 26, 55, 48, 149, 243, 67, 242

Tube: Old Street

Train: Hoxton Overground / Old Street

Disabled parking? Yes

 Other comments on parking: 2 places available in the garden, resident parking & disabled parking nearby

Can you provide any transport to or from your service? Not usually but could be negotiated

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Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

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