Spring to Life serves people who want to grow in emotional well-being

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Mother Gardens – Home Grow project

September 13th, 2020

Home Grow -Edible Resilience for communities in Birmingham

Responding to the struggles that people have been facing due to Covid 19 and the lockdown, Spring to Life’s Mother gardens project received funding from The National Lottery, to support people to grow food and develop garden spaces at home as a way to aid positive mental well-being, stay active and connect with others.

Being a network, Mother gardens project is working with a number of organisations and food growing initiatives from around the city to deliver this scheme. These groups and their sites are Mother garden hubs which will offer households in their own localities advice, plants and seeds, and opportunities to connect with their community.

During the crisis of the last six months, we have seen a sharp increase in people’s interest in gardening and nature. With a large majority of people stuck at home, people have turned to their gardens as a space of comfort to help manage their well-being. We have also seen an emergence of a culture of solidarity with people in communities looking out for one another. The Mother gardens project aims to take advantage of these two new trends, through the ‘Home Grow’ scheme.

As part of this scheme we also aim to help people connect with other green spaces out in the community run by these local mother garden hubs. These connections between community groups and households then have the potential to last beyond the lockdown.

The best way to register/get involved is to get in touch with your local hub:

Ladywood & North Edgbaston- Eat Make Play
https://eatmakeplayb16.com/

Welsh House Farm, Harborne, Quinton – The Haven & Rutley Grove Community Garden
http://havencommunityproject.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WHFGarden/
07738382430
cath@welshhousefarmbiglocal.co.uk

Handsworth, Birchfield, Perry Barr, Aston, Wilson Green, Wilton – Vegan Vybes Earth Gardens
https://veganvybes.co.uk/about-us.  07933931561

Kings Heath – Highbury Orchard Community
http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/

Bournville, Stirchley – Kushinga Community Garden
https://kushingablog.wordpress.com/…/kushingacommunitygard…/

Hawkesley, Pool Farm, Primrose Hill, Druids Heath – Spring to Life & Hawkesley Community Centre
http://springtolife.org/
https://facebook.com/HawkesleyCommunityCentre/

Sparkhill – Springfield Allotment Earth School
Text 07980857639

Shard End – Shard End Community Project
https://facebook.com/events/s/shard-end-community-project/659100211356017/

Smethwick – Birmingham Community Solidarity
https://facebook.com/BrumSolidarity/

 

These three organisations are running separately funded home growing support projects, but are still part of the Mother gardens network:

Stirchley – Let’s Grow Together & Fruit and Nut Village
http://letsgrowtogether.org.uk/

Northfield, Frankley – Allens Cross Community Garden
https://facebook.com/allenscrosscommunitygarden/

Firs & Bromford, Hodge Hill – Greener Cleaner Firs & Bromford
https://facebook.com/FirsBromGreen/
07738382430
C.fletcher@opendoorcf.co.uk

 

If you do not live in any of these areas and are interested, please get in touch directly. Check out contact details on flyer below.

 

We also wish to invite any keen gardener or other community gardening project to sign up as a mother garden and join this network, to share and receive resources and materials.

Mother gardens is a Spring to Life project developed in 2014 promoting mutual aid through the sharing of plants, seeds and resources. Click here to find out more about the wider project.

Get in touch to receive support to home grow or to be mother garden.

 

 

 

 

Living Well UK Young Person Trauma Project

September 3rd, 2020

Nature therapy programme for 11 to 13 year olds

August 20th, 2020

In with the Trees

This summer and through the autumn to winter 2020 we are providing ‘restorative’ sessions for 11 – 13 year olds following any trauma they may have experienced due to Covid and lock down.

In with the Trees is part of a wider programme funded and supported by Living Well UK (0121 663 1217), where each child is allocated a therapist who designs a bespoke programme with and for the young person. Options for sessions include Sports, Writing for Well-being and Nature Therapy.

In with the Trees are our Spring to Life sessions run as one off sessions aimed at young people who would like to explore nature and together we will find out what we can learn from trees!

Trees grow from tiny seeds, into saplings, into young trees and finally into huge strong structures. They survive out in all weathers, seasons and withstand many conditions.

By attending the ‘In with the Trees’ session we will help the young person to consider their own qualities, identities and strengths which all contribute towards restoration and recovery.

 

In with the Trees – A Nature Therapy Session

Trees stand up in all weathers ‘come rain or shine’. We will meet the young people at the entrances of Highbury Park, Kings Heath, or Deers Leap Wood, Edgbaston, and take them on an experiential journey around a nature area. Taking time to reflect and notice the environment and compare ourselves to the qualities trees have.

We will notice nature’s patterns, search for things, make nature art, start a personal journal, learn to breath and relax, share stories around a camp circle. The young person can join in with as much as they feel able to.

If you want to know more call Philippa Allenby on 07967 119 839.

 

Videos for your well-being

July 18th, 2020

In response to the limitations of the Covid pandemic and lockdown we have created videos for people to benefit at home from our well-being work.

 

 

 

In addition to these, we have been working with Living Well Consortium, adding to their online presence of therapy resources – Therapy Room, which include a range of videos from different organisations teaching anything from anger management, virtual fitness and well-being, to dance movement therapy, as well as more Spring to Life videos. Check these out here.

Covid 19 Response Services

May 27th, 2020

Contact us to access these services or to find out more

Community Anchoring Networks – CAN

April 29th, 2020

CAN (Community Anchoring Networks) has recently been launched as a way to connect vulnerable people needing support during the Covid 19 crisis, to community projects and other services. It is being funded by the Living Well Consortium (Living Well UK).

CAN as a model was initially being developed as Spring to Life’s social prescribing initiative, connecting people to activities, services and projects in the city. We are now adapting this to link people to services and initiatives emerging as Coronavirus response work.

We have always been struck by the wealth of projects happening in Birmingham aimed to support people’s well-being in a myriad of ways. Yet alongside this we have also seen the issue of many people not knowing what is available. As a well-being organisation working across the city and in different settings Spring to Life has links with GP and mental health services, and with many vulnerable groups themselves through our therapeutic programmes. We are also part of a wide network of groups offering different therapies, and activities. In this position we are now pleased to have received funding from the Living Well Consortium to carry out this connecting work.

The current crisis is presenting a host of issues for people, specific to the conditions of this historic time. Some of these include: difficulties accessing food, domestic violence, stress around reduced income and loss of job as well as accessing benefits, loneliness, and an increase in mental health problems. We are developing a directory listing services supporting people with these issues, while also making use of other directories and portals offered by other organisations. Information from this will be made available to our clients and to other professionals.

To find out more, and to self refer or refer others to the project please contact us on 07856277028, or email felipe@springtolife.org. Please get in touch also if you have a project or group you wish to promote through our directory.

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Covid 19 support

April 25th, 2020
We live in the day and age of constant change. The last few months have been quite testing for people with the uncertainty of what might happen to them and their families due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Spring to Life have come on board to provide support to people affected by Covid-19. Whether your mental health is affected by self-isolation or work in extremely difficult and stressful conditions.
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Thanks to the NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, that provided the funding for this work, we have teamed up with other organisations- The Living Well Consortium (Living Well UK), Birmingham Mind and others to provide support to people, who live in Birmingham and Solihull. Two helplines have been set up for people to call:
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0121 262 3555 – mental health support
0121 633 1217 – mental health support for key workers.
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All associates of Spring to Life acknowledge that extra help is required for our community and we are prepared to work hard to support people during this time. Now is the time to come together and feel united. Community and individual wellbeing has been our priority and if you require any more information or need some further advice then please feel free to contact us directly on info@springtolife.org or call 07856277028.
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Fruit and Nut Village Bulletin February 2020

February 20th, 2020

Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley

Bulletin – February 2020

Upcoming Events

15th February 2020 – Planting and Tree Care Day

We will continue our cooking apple tree care and additional planting at Cookers Corner, after a very productive session there in November.

10am – 1pm – Cookers Corner, Hazelwell Park, meet opposite 103 Newlands Road

22nd February 2020 – Selly Park Secret Garden Work and Planting Day

A Fruit & Nut Village supported sub-project. We are developing this site, slightly further north from our usual patch.

10am – 1pm – meet at the bottom of Second Avenue near the bridge

27th February 2020 – Pebble Mill Forest Garden Planning Evening

Please join us for an informal chat to plan and prepare for the development of the forest garden at Pebble Mill Playing Fields

7pm – 8.30pm – Selly Park Tavern, Pershore Road, B29 7HQ

29th February 2020 – Nut Grove Planting

Details TBC

1st March 2020 – Orchard Care Day

We will give some winter care to the trees we planted on this site in early 2019 – this may include a little pruning and planting work.

10 am – 1 pm – meet at Broadmeadow Orchard – Ten Acres – north from Cartland Road on the River Rea cycle path

7th March 2020 – Forest Garden Development Day – Day 1 of 2

We will be planting some trees on the site and working at expanding the range of plants present in the space.

10 am – 2 pm – Pebble Mill Playing Fields – entrance off Kitchener Road

8th March 2020 – Orchard Development Day

We will be expanding the orchard here, increasing the range of fruits on our “Pearthorn” and working with the foraging hedge

10 am – 3 pm – The New Old Orchard, Stirchley Park

14th March 2020 – Forest Garden Development Day – Day 2 of 2

We will be working at expanding the range of plants present in the emerging Forest Garden space

10 am – 2 pm – Pebble Mill Playing Fields – entrance off Kitchener Road

21st March 2020 – Bench Grafting Workshop

Learn the skills to graft and grow your own heritage fruit tree. If you would like to take a tree away for your garden you may buy one (cheaply) at the event.

10am – 3pm – Umberslade Nurseries

28th March 2020 – Field Grafting

Help us to introduce new varieties of fruit to Stirchley Park through grafting.

10am – 2pm – Meet at the Cartland Road entrance to the cycle path on Cartland Road

18th April 2020 – Stirchley Snake Ride

Pedal along the River Rea and to our other Fruit & Nut Village sites…then picnic!

Times and meeting point TBC

News

We have been busy this winter – even visiting our orchards on 4th January to carry out a pruning session before the year had barely dawned.

Wassail went very well this year. We paraded and processed and made noise and listened to stories and ate food courtesy of The Real Junk Food Project…and some spent time together in a local pub afterwards. We are certain that we drove every evil spirit from our trees and from Stirchley Park itself.

Every Saturday we have been out working to care for established, establishing and new trees as well as preparing ground and planting new trees in Newlands Run and in the new orchard behind Beilby Road – what is this orchard called? We need some suggestions.

The January day in Umberslade Nurseries was very successful and varied. We cared for the trellis of cordon trees, worked hard at a variety of jobs with our adopted orchard there and also potted up trees we had grafted last year. The young grafted trees are a very useful resource for the project and the area and we plan to distribute these to new homes in coming winters.

Get Involved

We have a wide range of activities taking place through the next few weeks, as winter turns to spring. There are trees still needing planting, fruit trees to graft indoors for planting out in years to come, field grafting on site to further expand the range of fruits we are growing in Stirchley, forest garden development and plenty more. We are still running a weekly session every Saturday and some events on days outside of that pattern.

We’d really like to welcome anybody over 50 to join us on our Stirchley Baths and Library garden project. Behind these buildings we are creating a formal forest garden…with different types of bed,fan-trained fruit, a story-telling corner, an archway, an allium collection, unusual fruits and plenty more. We meet at 1 PM every Monday. Anyone wishing to join us can just turn up – no skills, knowledge or tools needed.

We are planning the further development of the site at Pebble Mill. We will have a meeting to discuss this before the planting sessions take place in March. If you are local to the Pebble Mill site off Kitchener Road then we would really like to join us to discuss and plan – please do EMAIL US to express your interest!

Volunteer Profile: Helen

I spend far too much of my time stuck indoors, whether it’s at work, doing household chores or overseeing kids’ homework, so the chance to get out into the fresh air, in all weathers, doing something physically active, with a sense of purpose is very valuable to me. The contact with the elements, with the natural world and with other friendly, sociable people brings me happiness, it’s no more complicated than that.

I love that the work that we do will still be making a contribution for years to come; that other people will still be enjoying the trees and picking fruit. And I love that there is such variety, of tasks, events, locations and, of course, plants, because you learn a great deal, often in a very incidental way, with so much shared knowledge on hand.

The rewards of this work change with the seasons, pruning apple trees on a sunny winter’s morning is a gentle, contemplative pleasure, but equally, digging holes and planting trees in muddy ground in the wind and rain is, for me at least, an invigorating experience once in a while! The virtuous feeling that follows makes returning home, eating a hot meal together and settling down on the sofa, all the more enjoyable!

Then there are the warm Autumn days, watching the children lying on the mulch pile in the sunshine, smiling and happy, or pushing the wheelbarrow through orchards and parks, chatting with friends and meeting new people.

Whenever I describe Fruit and Nut Village to people they always think it sounds like a great idea, but it isn’t until you actually get involved that you can really appreciate it. The feeling that you are making a lasting, positive difference and enjoying every minute of it is a rare experience and one to be cherished.

Fruit Corner: George Fox

We have been planting the George Fox apple across our local area as part of Fruit & Nut Village’s work. This tree has perhaps the strongest connection to Stirchley, originating in the local suburb of Bournville!

We were tipped off about the existence of this apple variety in 2018 and we managed to locate and buy some trees.

From the descriptions of the apple variety it looks to be a great selection. The apple is partially-fertile and has a late picking time, but the fruits keep until May! The flavour is supposed to be very good. We have found the trees to be large, robust and quick growing.

The man, George Fox, established the Religious Society of Friends, or, Quaker movement, hence the naming of this apple variety.

Caring For YOUR Orchard

Winter is a busy time in the orchard. There’s still plenty of time to prune and inspect apple and pear trees for canker. Young trees need their branching framework to be developed, and this is a winter job.

Grafting work takes place at the beginning of spring so it is a great time to select and collect scion wood to create copies of your favourite trees in a few weeks time. Bag up the scion wood and store it in the fridge until you want to graft it. Scion should be from one-year old growth and disease-free. Select pieces around the width and length of a pencil.

If you need any ideas, help or advice about winter fruit tree care then do join us on one of our work days.

Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley is supported by the National Lottery through the 

 Heritage Lottery Fund

Bereavement Cafe launch

February 19th, 2020

Spring to Life is soon launching two bereavement café’s in north Birmingham. We are providing welcoming spaces for people who have suffered losses of loved ones, to come and drop in for a chat, a coffee, as well as the chance to engage in creative therapeutic activities. They are relaxed and informal sessions, with a chance to socialise. Yet they are facilitated by trained and experienced therapists in case people need extra support.

We will be running one bereavement café in Great Barr (St Paul’s Church), funded by Perry Barr Neighbourhood Network Scheme. The other will be in Perry Common, near Erdington. This one is in partnership with Witton Lodge Community Association, and funded by Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme. See posters below for full details and locations

 

Pop-up well-being space

February 11th, 2020

For the whole of February the Living Well Consortium is running a pop-up space in Birmingham City Centre to offer a wide range of therapies and well-being activities. During the different days of the week, many of the well-being organisations that form part of the consortium will hold the space, delivering their own therapeutic programmes throughout the day, and welcoming people into the space to talk about well-being and sign-post to other projects.

Spring to Life will be part of this, offering therapies every Thursday, running groups on writing for well-being, art sessions, relaxation groups, touch for well-being and reading for well-being.

The pop-up is being held at the Good Intent, a non-profit bar which raises money for charities and good causes via Love Brum.

See details below of full programme and address.

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