FBU’s Mat designs Mindfullness Garden at Brixton Fire Station

It is always very rewarding when somebody embraces learning, completes a course and then moves into other areas for the benefit of colleagues. Mat Rosendale, Watch Manager at Brixton Fire Station in South London, has done just that. 

He has now completed 4 of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) Level 2 Distance Learning Courses and has used them, notably the Mental Health Awareness course, to develop a Mindfulness Garden at his workplace, Brixton Fire Station. 

Mat said:

In my capacity as one of London’s first Blue Light Champions I am trying to establish this Mindfulness Garden to raise awareness of mindfulness and the Blue Light Programme.

I am also working with the Brigade’s Green Champion Simon Jakeman BEM to make our Garden environmentally friendly which will benefit the whole community."

The Garden is the UK’s first Blue Light Mindfulness Garden and was offically opened this month (July 2017). It is hoped it that attention the launch and ongoing project will help to promote the issues surrounding mental health.

Mat Rosendale and Simon
Jakeman ©Private

Mat commented:

I became a Blue Light Champion in 2015 and started studying with the FBU. I completed NVQ courses in Dementia Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, Team Leadership and Understanding Diversity. These courses helped me develop a greater understanding of mental health issues."

The Mindfulness Garden was conceived on 25th May 2017 and took two months to complete with all four watches joining in.

The station staff were helped by local community groups such as “Bee Urban” who provided bee-friendly pollinator flowers. The Brigade’s Green Champion, Simon Jakeman BEM was a great help too.

Mat added:

A Mindfulness Garden is a great way of working together for a common cause."

Mat has been supported in his project to develop the garden by FBU Learning Rep and Green Champion Simon Jakeman.

Simon said:

Brixton Mindfulness Garden ©Private

It was fantastic to be able to support and work alongside Mat and his watch to help create the Fire Services first Mindfulness Garden, at the station in Brixton.

As London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) Green Champion Coordinator, it was great to collaborate with a Blue Light Champion. The benefits of green spaces to Health and Wellbeing are becoming increasingly well known.

I’m sure the Mindfulness Garden will provide a space for personnel to reflect, especially after such tragic recent incidents, while also benefitting the local environment by greening an otherwise grey roof terrace and helping to improve air quality and providing an oasis for biodiversity, including planting for pollinators such as bees and butterflies."

Simon started his learning journey as a ULR with an Environmental taster course via the FBU in 2010 and has just completed his degree - a BSc(hons) in Environmental Studies via distance learning. 

Simon added:

This project shows the value of learning and how you can really make a difference."

Tim Davies, FBU Education Project Support Officer, congratulated Mat, Simon, Brixton Firefighters and all the local community groups involved in this project.

Tim said:

We are very pleased to report that the Brixton Fire Station Mindfulness Garden was opened on July 26th 2017. It is testament of Mat and all the Firefighters at Brixton that for the opening of the Garden the LFB Commissioner, Dany Cotton, plus her Director of Safety and Assurance Steve Apter and Director of Operations Tom George attended to pledge their support."