Many of the people we support do not have the confidence to take part in group activities. Others need extra help when their life situation changes for example when moving home, dealing with debts or coping with difficult family situations. We try to be there for our beneficiaries no matter what they are going through. For some this may mean meeting up once a week for a coffee, help with shopping, decorating a new flat, teaching life skills or just being available for them.
Twice a week we run a Gardening Project where we grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Being outside, in the natural world is well recognised as having a therapeutic effect. It re-establishes a connection with the seasons and rhythms of life that are too easily lost when living in a major city. The Gardening Project also provides a safe space where our beneficiaries can learn social skills by working together and interacting in a calm and peaceful environment. We are also able to send everyone home with fresh home grown produce!
At the Gardening Project we keep a small flock of chickens who provide us with eggs and plenty of entertainment. They also give our beneficiaries something to care for and look after. We are hoping to diversify into keeping honey bees soon.
After our first harvest from the Gardening Project it became clear that most of the people we work with didn’t know how to cook vegetables that don’t come ready packaged from a supermarket! So we started running Cooking Workshops to teach them how to prepare healthy fresh food from scratch.
The workshops run once a month and usually make the most of whatever is in season at the Gardening Project. We prepare the meal and then all eat together. So far the menu has ranged from Lasagne, to Victoria Sponge to Christmas Dinner. It has been great to hear our beneficiaries proudly tell of how they have recreated meals at home.
Every Wednesday afternoon we run a Drop In at Monyhull Church (link to the Church website maybe). It is a relaxed time with a “family” atmosphere. We spend a lot of time playing card games – Uno is the current favourite.
The Drop In is also an opportunity for anyone we support to bring along paperwork or other issues that they want help with. We have also been able to start running counselling sessions in parallel with the Drop In.