We answer some of the most common questions about Bridewell here. Use the Contact Us form if you have any other queries.
Is Bridewell open to the public?
We hold a number of Open Days each year to share the gardens with the public. Look at our Events page to see next dates. Bridewell is otherwise closed to the public with visits arranged by appointment.
Where do I park?
Parking for visitors is in our vineyard, not at our main gates. For Open Days follow separate signs for parking.
How do I get there?
See detailed location and directions on our Contact Us page. Do check a map before travelling as satnavs are not reliable with Bridewell's post code.
Is the garden site accessible for wheelchair users?
Wheelchair users can access the gardens but do note that some paths are rough and uneven. Some areas of the garden are only accessible across gravel and grass paths.
How do I support Bridewell?
There are lots of ways you can support Bridewell, take a look at our Donate and Fundraise page for ideas, or get in touch.
How is Bridewell funded?
Bridewell is part of the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, commissioned to provide a recovery service for adults affected by serious mental ill health. The contract covers half of our costs, we fundraise to cover the remaining costs each year.
I'm a health care professional, can I find out more about your work?
Yes, please do get in touch. We welcome visits from professionals supporting referrals to Bridewell and working across the county. We would be more than happy to talk you through any specific questions you may have .
Can I do my work experience at Bridewell?
We can offer a small number of placements at Bridewell to students depending on the time of year and availability. Get in touch and tell us what you're looking for.
Can I do my placement with you as part of my training?
Yes - depending upon availability. Please get in touch with us to find out more.
We answer some of the most common questions people have when thinking about accessing Bridewell's recovery service
Do I have to know about gardening?
No. Everyone at Bridewell is learning. We will make sure you understand how to do any activity on offer. You will always have a team member or volunteer around to support you.
What if you don’t want to do an activity?
You'll find a choice of activities each morning and afternoon; so you can decide what you’d like to do.
What kind of people will be there?
Difficulties with mental health can affect anyone, so a broad mix of people attend Bridewell. One of Bridewell's overarching values is that no-one is judged. You will find a really supportive, warm and friendly atmosphere, where you can be yourself and not worry about what others think of you.
How often would I come to the gardens?
Bridewell is open five days a week, Monday to Friday. You would be assessed before you arrive and offered a place on one or two days a week. Your days will be the same each week.
How do I get there?
Bridewell has a minibus which picks up and drops off in Witney (Woolgate car park near Waitrose) each day at 9.50 and 3.15. This is free. If you have your own transport, you can arrive independently. There is plenty of parking on site.
Is there lunch?
Everyone brings their own packed lunches whilst tea, coffee and squash are provided by Bridewell. We do sometimes cook soup with ingredients from the garden.
Do I need special kit or equipment?
Everyone on site should arrive dressed for outdoor working. Bridewell can provide workboots, wellies, gardening gloves and wet weather gear. We also have protective clothing for working in the forge.
How long will I stay at Bridewell?
Gardeners typically spend between 6 months and 2 years here. We will work with you to understand your best hopes for your time at Bridewell, meeting regularly with a key worker. People typically leave Bridewell when they feel ready and most have a paid or voluntary role to go to.
Do you help find work?
Yes, we support you to find either paid or voluntary work or to access other opportunities in the community. We will help you identify possible next steps and can help you with application forms, setting appointments, phone calls and anything else you need.
How do I join Bridewell?
If you think Bridewell might be for you, ask your Support Worker or GP to go to our Referrals page. They will be able to discuss whether Bridewell may be suitable for you and complete a referral form with you.
I have a physical health disability, can I still attend?
Speak to the team to discuss your needs. There are many adjustments we can make to the working day.
Is Bridewell free to access?
Yes - we do not charge fees to attend Bridewell.
Can you help with transport to reach the gardens?
We don't want transport to prevent you accessing the recovery service. Please speak to the team to discuss options.
Please get in touch if your question about volunteering isn't answered here
I work fulltime, can I still volunteer with Bridewell?
We have a variety of volunteering roles including supporting Open Days, helping to run Bridewell's social media, and volunteer driving. Take a look at what's available and what could work with the time you'd like to offer.
I don't have any gardening experience, would I be able to volunteer?
We have a range of volunteering opportunities, most of which don't require any gardening experience. In our Garden Team the most important skills are having empathy and an ability to work alongside people as they are. Read other volunteers' experiences to find out more.
Do I need mental health experience to volunteer?
No. You don't need to have had a background working in mental health but if you do have this or an understanding of mental illness yourself or from your family and friends this can help. Being non-judgemental and empathetic are the most important skills for most of Bridewell's volunteering roles.
What's the time commitment needed for volunteers?
It depends on the volunteering role. Event volunteers will support us during a weekend event anytime between 10am and 4pm. Volunteer drivers make a regular commitment supporting in the morning and afternoon one day a week. Garden volunteers are on site one day a week from 9am to 4pm.
What training do you provide for volunteers?
That depends on the role. Event volunteers are given a full briefing on the day of the event. Volunteer drivers undertake a Minibus driving assessment. We offer Mental Health First Aid training for our garden volunteers as well as regular supervision to identify any other training needs.
What specialist expertise are you looking for?
If you have specific skills that could be useful at Bridewell please do get in touch - we'd love to hear from you. Blacksmiths, landscape gardeners, carpenters, dry stone wallers, could you create a wheelchair accessible ramp? IT skills, design, and marketing are all valuable skills you could share.