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”.