Planting a better future  

The idea of nature being good for your mental health is anything but new – its benefits are known to range from relieving depression and stress to providing a general sense of well-being.  Getting your hands dirty with gardening can be a great team activity that gets everyone involved.  

It is no coincidence that Thomas Thor, leading recruitment agency in the nuclear industry, sought to get involved with a project that would generate positive energy: restructuring the garden at Center Kijkduin. 

As Becky Riddle, Office Manager and undercover gardening talent puts it; “We were looking for something hands on, where we could really get out and work together as a team; this turned out to be a great fit for us as we are all about energy and people.” 

Cordaan were equally happy for the help – ever since its beginning, Center Kijkduin has been a safe place where visitors come to relax, socialize and find community with others. Although it is open to everyone, a majority of regulars are people who have, or are currently, recovering from mental illness.  

Starting from scratch, an afternoon of hard (but fun) work was all it took for the Thomas Thor office to completely transform the garden with a new landscape ready for blooming spring. 


At the end of the day, the garden was completely transformed. 

Connecting Thomas Thor to Cordaan 

For Thea, organizer at Center Kijkduin, restoring the garden has been on the agenda for a while but the time and investment needed made it a difficult task to complete.  

“We like shorter projects like this because they are easier for our visitors to handle. It’s important to find a good balance, where we can suit to the needs of regular visitors without overwhelming them.”  

The garden is appreciated by everyone at Center Kijkduin, both staff and visitors. As soon as the weather allowsit fills up with the bustle of daily life and exciting activities.  

“It’s so important to do something with the garden. A project like this is positive for everyone involved and a beautiful garden helps to attract people to come out.”  

Restructuring the garden had been on the agenda for a while. 

Connecting to nature  

“Just being near nature is something we often take for granted but really has immense impact on our mental health,” says Kasey, teacher and enthusiastic project leader who has always had a love for gardening. When drafting the project, the underlying incentive was to help everyone involved.  

“Thea and I worked closely together to figure out what the top priorities were – we wanted to make the garden a place through which both regular visitors and the local community could benefit. Being around nature is a huge advantage for people with mental advantages. There are now countless studies to show its immediate effects.”  

Getting involved with voluntary projects as this not only helps the immediate community and visitors of the community center; but also enforces the great benefits of team building. At the end of the day, we left Center Kijkduin with a smile on our faces, knowing that the work put in will benefit many visitors to come.  

Why not stop by to see the result for yourself? Better yet – would you like to get involved on another project like this? See how you can help out the community in a way that fits your organization at