This year Spring to Life have been busy working to help people become ‘active-out-of-doors’ with the aim to improve the well-being of both individuals and communities. We’ve been involved across a host of sites and different projects, including Creative Support, Midland Heart, Freedom from Torture, Elmwood church drop-in and the Springfield Project.
The Spring to Life community allotment was supported this year by a £1,000 grant from Comic Relief. The allotment, only two miles from the city centre, at Meadow Road allotment site, has proved a lovely retreat to take people from different housing projects and well-being services across the city. We spent the spring and summer growing a range of vegetables from seed, and have collected fruits, and grown some lovely flowers.
Activities out-of-doors have also included nature conservation workdays at Deers Leap wood where we have built steps, sown wildflower seeds and planted trees whilst also enjoying the benefits of being out in nature.
This season at the Mother Gardens project we have primarily focused on the Uplands Allotment, in Handsworth. Funded by Barrow Cadbury, we coordinated a scaled-down version of the Mother gardens model at Uplands to work with plot holders and other community projects based there, to share plants and seeds. This included organising a seed swap day and a plant swap day, where both plot holders and people from the wider Mother gardens network attended. We also helped maintain and develop existing community orchards on the site, and coordinated a community work day to help re-established plots destroyed by the summer floods. It was a great opportunity to bring people together within and outside Uplands allotment.
Part of this work at Uplands has also been with Midland Heart working to further develop their allotment plot. In an effort to address social inclusion we have involved their service users in the wider Mother garden projects and workdays around the site.
Walking for well-being. We have carried out a number of nature walks by taking people by bus to a wide variety of accessible nature spots in and around Birmingham. This approach was aimed for people to then be able to access these places independently of us. Sites included Martineau gardens, Moseley Bog, Priory Woods nature reserve, Highbury park and community orchard, and Deers Leap wood.
We finished the summer with a minibus trip to Kinver edge – a beautiful and unique National trust site, characterised by cottages built into sandstone rock, abundant wildlfe and stunning views of the Staffordshire countryside. People from different parts of the city joined us and enjoyed it immensely.