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

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Partners shortlisted for an award

September 10th, 2013

The Midland Heart allotment project we have partnered since November 2012 has been shortlisted for an award with the Health Service Journal (HSJ), the journal for healthcare leaders.

Together we have been using horticultural therapy and outdoor activity to maximise mental health support and wellbeing for the hardest to reach individuals. Midland Heart have been shortlisted from over 1000 applicants and can be very proud of their success so far.

Congratulations to Midland Heart!

We too have worked hard within that partnership and are thrilled to be associated with the award in this way. Representatives from our team will accompany their mental health team in November to be present at the awards ceremony in London and learn who has won. An exciting moment!

Midland Heart logoHJS logo


Producing Fruit For Free!

January 22nd, 2013

Spring to Life has received Ronnie Bowker Foundation funding from Birmingham and Black Country Community Foundation to complement our Food Forest Brum project. Friends of parks groups, community allotments and food growing projects have all received free trees for their community growing areas. We can still receive further applications. The Ronnie Bowker Foundation Fund has paid for a series of skills-share workshops. The first is a Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop being held in Highgate this Saturday.

Felipe Molina is coordinating the project: ”What could be better than to learn to grow new fruit trees from the old favourite ones scattered around Birmingham which are getting too old. Grafting skills will enable communities to propagate their own orchards and keep old varieties going for future generations. Having more fruit trees in parks will enable the less well off to eat more healthily”.

If you or your community group are interested in learning more about Food Forest Brum fruit plants or to book onto any of the skills-share workshops, please contact foodforestbrum@gmail.com or phone 07980272940.

Food Forest Brum Events

January 21st, 2013

Its been a busy time for Food Forest Brum. In the last few months we have made great links with groups all over the city, and are constantly discovering amazing local projects where communities are growing food and growing resilience. Many fruit and nut trees have already been planted in parks, community gardens, and schools.

Here are some of Food Forest Brum-supported winter workdays and events happening over the next few months. There are range of activities and methods in a range of different sites and projects. See what takes your fancy.

Friday 18th/25th Jan and 1st Feb between 11am and 2pm.
Sandwell & Birmingham Permaculture group @ Salop Drive Market Garden, Salop Drive, Oldbury B68 9AG. Establishing a Forest Garden.

Sunday 10th February.
Hazelwell Park (with Friends of HP), Newlands Rd, Stirchley B30 2SA. 10am. Soft fruit planting, orchard work, tree planting.

Saturday 23rd February
Kushinga Community Garden, 48 Raddlebarn Rd, Bournville B29 6HA. 1pm. Tree and soft fruit shrub planting. Establishing espaliers and cordons.

Sunday 17th March
Hazelwell Park (with Friends of HP), Newlands Rd, Stirchley B30 2SA. 10am. A Big Dig event. Planting soft fruit, edible hedges.

First and third Sunday of every month. 1pm – 4pm
Highbury Orchard Community, Highbury Park, Kings Heath B13 8QG. See www.peopleandland.org.uk for the location within the park. Edible hedge planting and much more…

There will be more workdays announced soon. Check our facebook group for regular updates (http://www.facebook.com/FoodForestBrum?ref=ts&fref=ts). Let us know if you want to find out more information or directions.

We very much welcome new volunteers to our project – either practical hands-on help or coordination and admin work. Any regular volunteers will benefit from free workshops in many aspects of perennial food plant management, such as pruning, grafting, and forest gardening. You will also learn a range of other skills and have a chance to see many great projects going on around Birmingham.

Midland Heart Housing

October 30th, 2012

We have a 12 month contract with this housing association to develop an allotment near one of their supported housing complexes in the Handsworth area. It will involve customers from the complex and volunteers from the neighbourhood. Together we will be creating an abundant plot of edible products while helping local residents make friends, get fit and learn more about healthy food. More information later…

Get Involved with Nature

October 30th, 2012

Spring to Life has a long-term friendship with the Friends of Deer’s Leap Wood, through Philippa who belongs to both! Friends of Deer’s Leap Wood have received Community First funding from the Soho ward and we are commissioned to run two programmes for them.
This take place at Deer’s Leap Wood, off Portland Road Edgbaston from November 2012 to March 2013.
One is for young children and their families, the other for vulnerable adults in the community.

Outdoor Learning for the Under 5s and their Families:
(1) Woodland Shelter
three outdoor play-based sessions focusing on making shelters and habitats to care for woodland creatures over the winter.
(2) Outdoor Children (Liz)
three indoor sessions with DVDs showing the value of young children spending time outdoors, some floor play activities suitable for outdoors.
(3) Woodland Wake-Up (Liz, Margarethe)
three outdoor play-based sessions focusing on the changes that come with Spring-time.

If you would like to join in, contact Liz on 0775 243 5714 or email us on info@springtolife.org.

The second programme will approach people living in hostels locally to come along and get active out of doors, to benefit their own well being and to undertake conservation management tasks in the pond, meadow and woodland habitats.

We are glad to have the opportunity to help people in the Soho area engage with nature and to improve their well-being by venturing into local natural landscapes. See more about Deer’s Leap Wood at www.fdlw.org.

Food Forest Brum

October 30th, 2012

Spring to Life is launching a new project across Birmingham called “Food Forest Brum”.
With Lottery funding, a Big Tree Plant grant and support from Birmingham City Ranger Service, this exciting project will initially run for two years from October 2012.

Working with community groups, friends of parks groups, community gardens and food growing projects we will provide plants and support projects to develop permanent edible landscapes. Fruit and nut trees, edible leaves and fruiting shrubs will be planted to encourage people to harvest their own food, even in the heart of the city.

Food Forest Brum aims to enable localised communities to be more sustainable and connect with the living landscape as an abundant resource. Project coordinator Felipe Molina says, “The act of planting and managing edible trees and shrubs has many positive benefits: stronger local and city-wide communities, opportunities to share skills and learn new ones, improved physical and mental well-being, and improved natural environments for people and wildlife.”

We’ve had a great response so far. If you want to find out more – the location of your nearest Food Forest Brum-supported project, to donate plants, get involved or for more information, phone Felipe on 07980272940 or email foodforestbrum@gmail.com.

Spring to Life is a Community Interest Company that promotes both personal and community wellbeing in Birmingham.

Positive Minds

October 30th, 2012

This year we have been commissioned to run Positive Minds, a well-being programme for making the most of life at a sheltered housing community in Kings Heath, Birmingham. It is the initiative of a small handful of residents who received a Lottery grant to run this programme and other activities besides.

Each fortnight from August 2012 to March 2013, Spring to Life practitioners are presenting themed sessions and encouraging residents and visiting participants to try out something new. Some trips will be outdoors in nature: in November 2012 we are going to see the trees in their autumn colours; and in the spring we will be snowdrop hunting!

The beginnings of an edible garden - creating a herb spiral, early 2012

The sessions aim to help people feel positive, break down social isolation and make the most of their lives. People will be encouraged to develop awareness of helps and hindrances to their well-being and to set their own goals for positive change.

Themes include:
Positive Spaces – Exploring positive features of the spaces we live in and how these affect our well-being.
The Power of Music – Reflecting on the different affects Music can have in our lives and why it can enhance different moods. Listening, playing, singing and relaxing to music can be a powerful tonic.
Stress & Anxiety – Exploring ways to relax for improved well-being; noticing the things that stress us out; discussing helpful tactics.
Reading for Well-being – A short story and/or poem is read out. The group then joins in reflections and discussions to explore them in the light of our own experiences. We can be transported into another time or place simply through reading and listening to a story and the workings of our imagination.

Creative Workshops include:
Clay for Relaxation – you don’t have to be a master sculptor to enjoy modelling with clay and discover a different way to relax and express yourself.
The Art of Double Doodling – exploring the different ways you can doodle and even create a gigantic group doodle for a Community Room.
Mask Painting – to identify and develop the confident self.

Getting Your Beauty Sleep – how to get our beauty sleep, why it is important to dream; sharing your own discoveries about what helps and hinders your night-time patterns.

Conflict Management & the Importance of Positive Relationships- managing anger can be a great way to stay calm and relaxed; exploring how to achieve this with ideas to try.  ‘The Love Factor’ looks at the importance of positive relationships, friendship and kindness.  Everyone can all learn to be their own best friend as well as what friendship means to them.

This programme is open to neighbours in the locality who are over 50. Please contact Spring to Life for more information.

Easter holidays at Deers Leap Wood

June 29th, 2012

If you go down to the woods these days … you might meet some young people having lots of fun: storytelling, creating a sensory pathway, having a bear’s picnic and many more activities besides. On the sensory pathway, most were brave enough to take off socks and shoes and test out the different materials we found – even though it was very cold! If you’re not used to natural spaces, you have to watch where you are going in the woods as it’s easy to trip up. But some of our young visitors were skillful at balancing on logs, listening for nature sounds and observing animal tracks.  One of the children was enthralled when he found a foxhole; another when she saw the fox!

The young families had such a good time, some of them are planning to go again without us. We are cooking up some new ideas and hope to be back in the woods with families from the Leaps and Bounds Children’s Centre before too long!

The DeersLeapWood4People Project ran from March 2011 -March 2012 and aimed to bring local people into the natural environment, some for the first time.

Babygym at St Thomas’s Children’s Centre

July 4th, 2011
looking at the world astride the "big" ball
looking at the world from a "big" gym ball

On a warm sunny Monday, what better way to spend the morning than playful movements on the floor with your baby? The New Parents at St Thomas’s invited us back for a third run of Babygym. Today there were fourteen bonnie “bouncing” babes and their parents having fun, learning about movement including a short discussion on key early childhood issues.

a joyful stretch on the baby-trolley
a joyful stretch on the baby-trolley

Babygym movements are based on the Primitive Reflexes. They help babies move & explore with confidence, creating wonderful brain-body connections.  These games & activities, including lots of songs and music, also help very small people engage socially and with their thinking.

echo games on the gathering drum
bouncing and stopping

Housing Projects: growing for well-being

June 28th, 2011

Funded By Comic Relief

In April 2011 Spring to Life CIC was successful in its bid to gain a Comic Relief Grant administered by the Birmingham and Black Country Community Foundation. It was a modest sum of £1,000 but with it we have achieved a lot.

In the early summer our two horticultural therapists worked with a mixture of people from deprived settings to help them set up and look after food and flower growing projects. Facilities were provided to ‘get people gardening’ and many happy memories were made and new opportunities opened up.

Hope Housing Gardening Project for refugees and asylum seekers are turning a lawn into a productive permaculture garden in Bournville.  The grant supplied much needed tools for their regular community work parties. Felipe works regularly with this group who attend from all over the city.

growing well-being at Hope Housing

Charles Davis House, is a residence for people with various levels of mental ill health.  They needed support to add vegetable and salad crops to their flower garden.  Residents are now tending  the plants and cropping them for their own use – a great use of space and time.

Waterside Hotel – Princip Street.

Waterside Hotel is a hostel used by homeless, ex-offenders as well as people with drug and alcohol habits.  The courtyard was completely devoid of any plants until Thursday 2nd June when our two Horticultural Therapists turned up with make-your-own containers, compost, hanging baskets and plants.  A great morning was enjoyed working with the residents to create a new flower and vegetable garden.  It is being looked after by the residents who wish to expand the project further.

one month on

Spring to Life aims to work further with these groups and other people who live in deprived settings who will benefit greatly from being involved in social and horticultural projects on an occasional or more regular basis.  WE think gardening improves well-being!

©2009 Spring to Life