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

A year in Nature – Spring to Life’s ‘Project Greenheart’ 2016

October 10th, 2016

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.

At the Spring to Life allotment
 Spring to Life allotment.

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.

Plant swap day
Mother gardens plant swap day







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.

Nature walk to Moseley bog
Nature walk to Moseley bog

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.

Moseley bog
Moseley bog
Midland Heart allotment
Midland Heart allotment
Mother gardens flood response workday
Mother gardens flood response workday
Kinver edge
Kinver edge
Priory woods Nature reserve
Priory woods Nature reserve


Moseley Bog
Moseley Bog
Midland Heart allotment
Midland Heart allotment

Happy Times Springing to Life

April 20th, 2016
The Bluebells are out  and all is well in the world !
Take a trip to a bluebell wood any time in the next three weeks and you’ll be sure of a lovely peacefull experience.
Some Spring to Life therapists found themselves hanging around in Peck Wood Rowney Green last Sunday and it was more than a breath of fresh air! The wood is only open to the public for one week a year. We hope to make another trip there from our community allotment in Edgbaston on Thursday 28th April if anyone wants to join us

Mother Gardens update

October 19th, 2015

Mother Gardens project

Propagating plants, skills and community well-being

 Mother Gardens is a scheme developed by Food Forest Brum and its parent organisation Spring to Life CIC to promote community resilience and mutual aid within and across communities in Birmingham and surrounding areas.

 The project was set up in 2013 and has been funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust.

The idea is to work with community food growing groups (as well as individuals) to grow, propagate and share beneficial plants with one another. As people develop their own Mother Gardens, they are encouraged to make connections through plant sharing with other Mother Gardens in the region as well as with groups and people in their own communities.

 Anyone with a garden – however big or small and regardless of skill level or available time – can have a Mother Garden. All you have to do is be willing to share and receive plants. Some groups may choose to set up nurseries on their site, but others may just allow beneficial plants to spread and multiply themselves. Then all people do is dig up, pot up, and share.

 The idea is to make the maximum range and number of plants available to the widest possible number of people. We are very interested in plants with different uses, including those that are edible, medicinal, wildlife-friendly, unusual, heritage, and hardy/resilient. This year we organised our first very successful plant swap days at two Mother gardens, where people also shared many surplus vegetable seedlings.

 An important element of the project is the development of a network of groups and individuals who connect through sharing. This sharing is also extending beyond plants. The network has already been used to dissminate other resources, skills, and initiatives, such as Spring to Life psycho-emotional well-being projects and other schemes offered by partner organisations within the network.

 Mother Gardens hub at Uplands Allotment

 We have recently received further funding from Barrow Cadbury trust to pilot a scaled-down Mother Garden network hub within Uplands allotment in Handsworth, Birmingham.

 We chose Uplands allotment due to existing work Spring to Life and Food Forest Brum has done there, and because it is a site very rich in skill and diversity, with an active and like-minded allotment committee, who are developing a host of pioneering projects around sustainable living.

 There will be four key strands to the project:

  1. Develop the overall network within Uplands allotment, connecting with groups, projects and individual allotment holders, while promoting the sharing of plants and seeds.
  2. Develop specific Mother Gardens within plots run by services working with disadvantaged groups, including Midland Heart and Creative Support.
  3. Further develop the community orchard. Hold workdays, creating Mother garden areas of self-propagating mother plants. We will work with the Urban Orchard project to restore the old orchards.
  4. Cultivate links between the allotment network and the outer network. We will  link Uplands allotment with the wider Mother Garden network in Birmingham and to the growing food network of Handsworth. We will organise plant swap and seed swap days inviting people from both the allotment and the wider network to share. Anyone at Uplands who chooses to be a Mother Garden will automatically be part of the wider network.

Contact us to find out more or if you are intersted in signing up as Mother Garden: foodforestbrum@gmail.com

Whats on: October – November 2015

October 3rd, 2015

sessions oct – nov 2015sessions oct - nov 2015

Firsbrook, Wolverhampton Midland Heart Supported Housing Scheme

September 29th, 2015

Firsbrook group harvest harvesting with hanging basketSpring to Life received a commission from Midland Heart Housing Association to provide weekly horticultural therapy sessions and develop a vegetable garden at one of their new services for supported housing in Wolverhampton.

mosaic pieces We have been delighted to engage their residents in sowing, planting, caring for and now harvesting food crops and flowers. They have harvested crops of  salad, beetroot, carrots, potatos, onions, green beans and have a lovely strawberry bed ready for next year.

We have also constructed a garden sculpture by recycling plates and other natural elements.  On 17th September we visited Sidney Nolan Trust Organic Farm and Art Centre. We enjoyed a warm welcome and wonderful countryside.  On 30th September we are taking the residents on a Project Greenheart  visit to Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve which is a nearby nature conservation site. Spring to Life believes that growing plants and being in nature is a great way to calm the senses and soothe the mind.

Fir for Purpose Skills-share gathering

June 22nd, 2015

Spring to Life’s Mother gardens project is teaming up yet again with Sandwell and Birmingham Permaculture Network to run another skills-share gathering, disseminating and sharing skills within the themes of food and health, earth stewardship and community wellbeing.

This is a free event and will take place on the 27th of June at 10am at the Old Print Works in Balsall Heath.

colour poster Fit for purpose timetable


Spring to Life’s Food Forest Brum receives award

May 12th, 2015

We were very excited to finBestEcoProjectlogod out recently that Food Forest Brum had won the award for best eco-project from  Health and Happiness magazine.

Over the last two and a half years, Food Forest Brum has worked with over 90 groups and community projects to plant permanent food landscapes in public and semi-public spaces across the city. We have provided over 2000 edible perennial plants, including fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs and perennial vegetable plants.

Due to the recent development of the Mother gardens scheme, emerging out of Food Forest Brum, many of these community projects have also been growing, propagating, planting, and sharing, many plants themselves, in an effort for our communities to be self-reliant on plant stock.

Aside from the planting and provision of plants, an important element has been in the skilling up and bringing people together within and across communities. We have run a number of workshops and a skill-share gathering (in partnership with Sandwell and Birmingham Permaculture network). It has been a great achievement to broker so many connections between people and groups.

For more information check out the FFB and Mother garden page:


Get in touch if you either wish to sign up your project or garden as a Mother garden, be part of the Food Forest Brum network, or volunteer with either of these.

Spring to Life well-being provision across Birmingham

May 12th, 2015

Over the last year, Spring to Life has been providing a range of well-being groups and therapies to different services across the city. This has been funded by IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies), an NHS scheme aimed at reducing anxiety and depression in our communities.

Spring to Life has enlisted new practitioners to expand its well-being provision, with the aim of addressing different elements that are key to psycho-emotional health. These elements relate to clusters of therapies, for us to then provide holistic well-being packages:

Body work: gentle gym, holistic massage, bowen massage.

Creative therapies: art therapy, african drumming, creative writing.

Talking therapies: counselling, reading for well-being, stress and anxiety management groups.

Project Greenheart (ecotherapy): horicultural therapy, nature walks.

We have been tailoring therapy packages to different client groups, offering both one-to-one therapy and groups. We have worked with a host of services working with people with mental health problems, refugees and migrants, people with brain injuries, women who are victims of domestic violence, people with learning disabilities, and the elderly.

Throughout this process we have solidified our partnerships with existing services, such as Midland Heart, and have developed new partnerships, such as with Creative Support, Hope Housing, Anawim, Birmingham Care Group, and Kinmos.

We expect to continue this project for the next year, working with IAPT, and raising well-being in Birmingham communities.

Volunteer Opportunity on Our Board

February 6th, 2014
By pupils of George Dixon International School
By pupils of George Dixon International School

Are you looking for a new challenge?
Spring to Life CIC works to grow people’s wellbeing through therapeutic programmes across Birmingham. We base our work on a foundation of Christian principles and are now in our 12th year.
We have developed some new directions and are looking for more volunteer Board members to join our innovative community interest company and help steer our strategy for the coming years.
If you think you could commit to our three Board meetings per year and input creatively between times, please send your CV and a covering letter telling us how you could contribute to our company. Applicants must have a compassion for others, and we would particularly welcome those with business development and marketing expertise.
For more information about us please see our website, www.springtolife.org.
Applications to Philippa: philippa@springtolife.org.
Closing date: Friday 14th March 2014

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


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