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

Spring to Life at St Eugenes

June 12th, 2017

unnamed2On 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


Spring to Life allotment

May 4th, 2017

Spring to Life allotment sessions are now happening regularly every thursday 10:30 to 12:30. Phone or 07856277028 if you are interested.

This year we are growing different annual crops as usual, and also developing more perennial edible spaces in order to build our Mother Garden capacity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sunflower (12) - Copy Veg at Allot

Spring to Life IAPT achievements

April 5th, 2017

thSpring to Life is coming to the end of the 2016-17 season of delivering well-being programmes to people in Birmingham. This has been funded by the IAPT scheme (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), a nation-wide NHS scheme aimed at supporting people experiencing depression and anxiety. It is the third year Spring to Life has taken part in this scheme – through our membership of the ‘Living-Well Consortium’. The Living Well consortium is an umbrella organisation of many groups, supporting the mental health and well-being of people in Birmingham.

Over the last year we have delivered a full range of well-being programmes and therapies, including one-to-one counselling, creative therapies, eco-therapies, body therapies and psycho-educational groups.

During this time we have achieved our best results yet in terms of improving recovery rates of our clients. This has been measured through ongoing well-being assessments, and achieving a ‘Move to Recovery’ score on these assessments. Around of 70 % of clients, across the year, who have taken part in our IAPT programmes have ‘Moved To Recovery’. A statistic that we are VERY proud of!

A core factor in achieving these results has been the work of our skilled counsellors. Our counselling service offer a diverse range of approaches, including integrative, gestalt, transactional analysis, and brief therapy. They also offer group psycho-educational groups around anxiety and stress management, as well as sign-posting to other services and opportunities in the city.

This scheme has also enabled Spring to Life to make many new links with services and community projects all over the city, and has allowed us to connect our well-being programmes with other Spring to Life projects such as Mother Gardens and Food Forest Brum. Spring to Life intends to continue providing IAPT programmes for the next year.

Freedom from Torture partnership

February 13th, 2017

freedom from torture

The New Year of 2017 started with Spring to Life developing a contract to provide a well-being programme for the clients of Freedom from Torture.

Freedom from Torture are a national organisation offering clinical and emotional care to survivors of torture, as well working to protect and promote their rights. Following a pilot of well-being groups which we ran with its Birmingham group last year, they decided to team up with us this year to roll out an extended programme entitled ‘Freedom to Live’. This aims to engage people in meaningful and therapeutic activities within the community, as part of their healing journey.

Spring to Life will complement the psychological work that Freedom from Torture do with their clients, by offering our full range of creative therapies, eco-therapies, and body-based therapies. Groups we will deliver include, art for well-being, African drumming, nature walks, educational kinesiology, Indian head massage and hand massage, diet and nutrition guidance , drama for well-being, as well as a nature conservation project.

As part of our aim to support people in becoming more anchored into the community we also hope to signpost participants to other community projects we are working in as well as activities across our wider network. So far we have signposted Freedom from Torture clients to bike repair workshops and community gardening projects across Birmingham.


Winter – Spring Eco-therapy sessions

January 21st, 2017

Nature conservation @ Deers Leap wood, Edgbaston:
Friday 27th January, 11am – 1:30pm
Friday 24th February, 11am – 1:30pm

Gardening for well-being @ Spring to Life allotment, Meadow road allotment:
Thursday 16th February, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Thursday 2nd March, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Thursday 16th March, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Thursday 30 March, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Deers Leap wood, Meet at entrance on Roebuck road, Edgebaston, B16 0QG.

Spring to Life allotment, at entrance of Meadow road, allotment, on corne of Oakhill close with Meadow road, Bearwood, B17 8DG.

Wear hardy footware and suitable outdoor clothing.

Phone or text if you need more information on 07856277028, or email info@springtolife.org

Mother gardens update – Uplands allotment

October 13th, 2016

Funded by Barrow Cadbury, this year we coordinated a scaled-down version of the Mother gardens model at Uplands allotment in Handsworth. The idea was to develop a network within the allotment of projects and plot holders who grow and share plants and seeds. The other objective has been to connect the wider Mother gardens and ecological networks with the network within Uplands.

Seed swap day
Seed swap day

A core part of fullfilling these aims happened through a seed swap day in March and plant swap day in May held at the allotment clubhouse. At the seed swap event, as well as having different gardeners come and swap seeds, we also had community seedbank projects and Ryton garden organic hold a stall. Preserves and food were sold and served, much of which were grown directly at the allotment. From the event all seeds that were left over helped populate an existing seed bank that was developed by Uplands allotment Cooperative Association.

The plant swap day was a chance for plot holders and others from the wider networks to share and swap surplus vegetable seedlings and herb plants with one another. This proved to be very successful, leaving some active plot holders enthused to hold their own plant swap day next year.

Birmingham Metropolitan College student desciring Midland Heart staff one of their innovative projects
Birmingham Metropolitan College student describing Midland Heart staff one of their innovative projects

Uplands allotment is characterised by having a diverse and vibrant community of people and groups, which we were very glad work with. Groups and project we linked with included PAG (Uplands sustainability project), Urban Therapies, Midland Heart, Birmingham Metropolitan College, the Uplands bee hive, and the Uplands Allotment Cooperative Association itself. We also got a lot of support from Stonham carers group who have an allotment on the nearby Sandwell allotments.

We helped maintain and develop existing community orchards on the site, and coordinated community workdays to help re-established plots damaged by the summer floods. It was a great opportunity to bring people within and outside Uplands allotment to work together.

A big part of our input at Uplands has also been to work with Midland Heart to further develop their allotment plot, and to help develop their own Mother garden. An unexpected outcome from this was that some Midland heart

Plant swap day
Plant swap day

housing projects across Handsworth became Mother gardens themselves. In an effort to address social inclusion, volunteers at the Midland heart allotment, were also involved in the wider Mother garden projects and workdays around the whole allotment site.

As always the Mother gardens project has helped us develop and expand our networks, and to connect people together with similar and complimentary interests and skills. We are pleased to have met some very inspiring and passionate people who really care about sustainability as well as people’s health and community well-being.

Plot holders working on the community orchard
Plot holders working on the community orchard site

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

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