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CLA Charitable Trust awards grant to Surrey mental health charity to help it buy horticultural equipment and boost work-related training

18th May 2021

The CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) has awarded a grant to a mental health charity in Surrey to help it buy gardening equipment as part of its efforts offering work-related training.

The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the county and beyond.

It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with nature and the countryside.

One recent recipient is Oakleaf Enterprise, a charity based in Guildford that supports adults aged 16-67 who are struggling with their mental health including anxiety, depression, bi-polar and schizophrenia. It aims to improve mental health, help clients remain out of hospital, find employment and offer a positive focus in community settings.

Oakleaf has now been awarded £1,000 to help deliver horticultural and gardening training, for which it needs to buy a range of tools and equipment such as a tripod ladder for hedge trimming.

Moyra Matravers, head of fundraising at Oakleaf, said: “We are hugely grateful to the trustees of the CLA Charitable Trust for supporting Oakleaf with this grant.

“Our vocational training in gardening is a key element of our work, helping our clients to gain the skills and confidence to move back to the workplace.

“Having the tools and equipment with which to train is vital to the success of this project.”

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Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “We were pleased to be able to support the work of Oakleaf Enterprise. The aims of this small charity resonate with our charitable aims by providing training and opportunities for work in horticulture, while at the same time being actively engaged in nature gives Oakleaf Enterprise clients who suffer from severe mental health illness that special restorative opportunity.

“This charity demonstrates the very positive impact of gaining knowledge and opportunity within horticulture, and it is a delight to be able to support this work.”

One Oakleaf client said: “I have found that my involvement in the gardening team has been wonderful for my confidence work-wise. Working as a team and also getting used to actually doing a full, proper day’s work. I enjoy gardening, and the knowledge and experience I am gaining is invaluable.”

Another said: “I was very withdrawn and suffering from severe social anxiety after a long period of isolation and depression… The Oakleaf team introduced me to their gardening training, which involved going out once a week with a group of other clients and volunteers to work at customers’ houses. This was a great experience as it allowed me to work as part of a team and make friends all while learning new skills. It also added some structure to my week and gave me something to look forward to.”

Since its foundation in 1980, the CLA Charitable Trust has given £2million in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects. If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.