Activities at our allotment will recommence this spring. Here we will expand our activities to two days a week. On Mondays we will run a session for asylum seekers and refugees, while on Thursdays our sessions will be aimed for people with mental health problems. We aim to continue growing a wide range of vegetables, fruits and herbs. We will also expand our Mother garden capacity, with the intention of producing more plants to share with other community projects.
This new season of food growing is being funded by Tesco Bags of Help. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of up to £4,000, £2,000 and 1,000 – all raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco Stores – being awarded to local community projects. Bags of Help offers community groups and projects across the UK a share of revenue generated from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores. The public votes in store who should receive the awards. We thank all of you who voted for us, particularly as we were awarded the highest grant.
Please watch this space for when our first session begins.
Contact us if you are interested in attending our allotment. Email us at email@example.com or phone 07856277028
In 2017 we ran a full programme of therapeutic activities and groups, both outdoor and indoor with clients of Freedom from Torture. The joint project titled ‘Freedom to Live’ saw participants take part in a wide range of creative and nature-based activities ran by Spring to Life. For the first two programme blocks, we were based at the beautiful Centre of the Earth in Winson Green, run by the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.
Here we developed a ‘Mother garden‘ bed, as a mini-project which took 3 months to develop. People were able to establish the bed from scratch, whereby they first worked to clear the space of old roots and weeds. Build the soil with fresh organic matter. Then plant up with a range of plants that were edible and good for wildlife.
While at Centre of the Earth, people also took part in mindful walks, and a very fun and rewarding canoeing trip round the Soho loop canal. This was delivered by B-ROW who were offering canoeing opportunities to community groups in Birmingham.
For the third block of the year we were based at Lightwoods House. This is a recently restored grade II listed beautiful 18th century house in Bearwood. People were able to learn the interesting background of this historic building, and take a walk in the Shakespeare gardens located within the grounds of the house. From here we also carried out health and well-being walks around Lightwoods Park and outings to Sandwell Valley Park Farm. Participants also took part in dance and movement therapy and dru yoga.
During this year’s programme with Freedom from Torture we have seen the value that the experiences of having fun, getting creative and being in nature had on people. We look forward to working more with them this year.
Here are a few comments from those who took part in the programme:
“I liked canoeing as I felt free and I liked the quietness of the places and just the sound of the paddle on the water”.
“It is good to go out and experience different things, I like Art work because I don’t have to talk but I feel relaxed”.
“I feel in peace when I am walking and walking in the woods reminded me of home”.
The collaboration between Spring to Life and the Birchfield Big Local group, saw the launch of the initial attempt to focus on the mental health of the local community from the Grosveor Road Studios, Birchfield. By delivering a 12 week programme called ‘Well Being into Winter’, it gave residents the opportunity to get a taste of a number of activities that would reduce social isolation in the colder months as well as take away health tips that could help with their well being.
Amongst the weekly sessions, participants engaged in art for wellbeing, dance/movement therapy, yoga, mindful walking, african drumming to name a few.
Here are of few testimonials from participants of the programme:
“I was pleased to know some alternative therapies was going to be on offer at Birchfield Big Local. I did the taster on the Tree of Life and was so excited as I was able to attend the three sessions… they really tugged on my unearthing who I truly am yet it grounded me too. Then the Bowen technique helped me understand another relaxation… well the art kept me tranquil leaving me uplifted by the new experiences… sad they come to an end but would support any of them being more permanent…they all come with high recommendations. Well done”
“Attending the wellbeing into winter sessions has been an enriching experience. The ‘course’ has helped me to find a local community of people to explore ways to support my well being, while we discovered our shared experiences and stories, especially in the Tree of Life sessions”.
The take up was well received and we hope to be able to replicate this programme in the same area in the coming year that supports the need for a creative space to meet new people, engage openly in a supportive and mentally stimulating way.
Partnering up with Birchfield Big Local, we are running 12 sessions involving a wide range of approaches. The idea of it is to offer local people different therapies during Autumn and the first part of Winter.
Therapies include Art for well-being, Dance and Movement therapy, Mindful walk for well-being, African Drumming, Dru-Yoga, Bowen treatment, Stress management and Reading for Well-being.
We will also be running a series of sessions on ‘Tree of Life’. This is the latest addition to the list of therapies on offer within Spring to Life. Being run by our two experienced psychologists, it is an intervention used with children, young people and adults to help them identify their strengths and abilities, hopes and dreams, reconnect with their roots and relationships and think about the ‘storms of life’ from a position of strength.
If you are intersted in joining the programme, get in touch with us on 07856277028, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday 24th of August we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day for our community well-being day at Martineau Gardens. The gorgeous surroundings of the garden provided a perfect backdrop to the activities and therapies offered to people, as well as the opportunities to socialise and have fun. Kushinga Garden and The Real Junk Food Project provided a wide range of delicious dishes for people.
Therapies and activities included african drumming, art making, mindfulness in nature walks, gentle massage, as well as kids activities. Aside from the direct well-being promotion aspect of the event, the focus was also to provide a space and opportunity for migrants and refugees to connect with opportunities, resources and other people in Birmingham.
We had around 70 people turn up for the event. around 60 to 70% of them were asylum seekers and refugees. Some of these included newly arrived refugees currently resident at nearby hostels. We had information stalls of different organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers in a range of ways. Groups included Baobab, Entraid, RSVP, Kushinga Community Garden, and Birch.
We are very greatful for the efforts and support given by Martineau Gardens staff and volunteers. The event offered a chance for people to know about this great space, and all it has to offer. Other support that was of great value was that of Kushinga Garden volunteers who – aside from providing food, also helped set up and clear up, and offered translating of different languages for many visitors. Thank you also to all other volunteers helping out on the day.
Mother Gardens Gaining Ground project are inviting refugee and asylum seeker groups, as well as Birmingham residents to take part in a day of well-being activities, including art, african drumming and nature walks, in the beautiful Martineau Gardens.
Gaining Ground is a sub project of Mother Gardens, aimed at connecting new communities with green projects, mother garden sites, and the wider community. Gaining Ground refers to the mental health term ‘grounding’, denoting the process of grounding oneself in the present as a way to manage stresses related to the past or future. This year we have been connecting new communities with projects and groups all over the city.
This year we received a Big Lottery Awards for All grant to expand the Mother Gardens (MG) project. This will entail signing-up new food projects to become MGs, re-connecting with existing MGs, facilitating more sharing opportunities between projects, developing the overall MG model, and expanding the network. We also aim to engage with gardeners who may want to sign up their private gardens and allotment plots as MGs.
We will be developing an online map of Birmingham, where people can identify MGs across different localities in the city. This will serve to explore areas that are in greater need for the project to target, and connect them with other groups and gardeners. People will also be able to see what is going on in or near their own community.
New areas where projects are signing up as MGs include: Quinton, Bordesley Green, Oldbury, Winson Green, Summerfield and Kingshurst.
We have also received a Communities Together grant from the Heart of England Community Foundation to work with migrant and refugees groups, by connecting them with a range of MGs and gardening groups across the city. This initiative – titled ‘Gaining Ground’ – is a sub-project of MG, and started at the beginning of the year with the aim to create more connection between new communities and local resident communities. It is about creating mutual gains for both host and visiting projects.
Activities have included: taking people to community gardening sites in the areas that they live, enabling visiting groups to share their own skills and plants, getting people to volunteer at Food Forest Brum sites including orchard maintenance activites, establishing new mother gardens, and getting people to share and talk about edible plants native to their home country with local people.
We have worked closely with groups such as Kushinga Community Garden and Freedom from Torture, where members have become involved in the project as a way to be more rooted in local communities. People have also had the opportunity to learn new skills such as fruit tree grafting and pruning, while carrying this out for the benefit of the local community.
The name Gaining Ground refers to ‘grounding’, a mental health term for being able to be present and not caught up in stresses, anxiety and traumas; the project aims to help people settle into communities by being involved with them and the environment.
At this new stage of the Mother Gardens project we are expanding our capacity to work with a wider range of groups, while increasing the capacity of more people to be able to make a difference in the community and themselves.
On Thursday 8th of June , Philippa, two volunteers, and two residents made the 13 hanging baskets to decorate the St Eugenes atrium. It is a stunning place, like an oasis in the heart of Digbeth. Everyone enjoyed the morning and some residents are determined to attend the Spring to Life Allotment on a Thursday morning in future. Gardening for well-being definitely raises the spirits and improves social interations. We’ll return in a couple of months to see how colourful the atrium has become”.
St Eugenes is a Midland Heart sheltered housing project for men experiencing physical or mental health difficulites. Spring to Life has worked with them over the last five years, doing a range of theraputic acitivites with its customers