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

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Well-Being into Winter

October 3rd, 2017

well-being into winter programme posterFunded by Birchfield Big Local, Spring to Life has begun a well-being programme in Birchfield (Perry Barr), Birmingham.

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 felipe@springtolife.org.


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Gaining Ground Well-being day

August 27th, 2017

20170824_114831On 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 20170824_123303activities 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.

Mindfulness in nature walks through the woodland area

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.

Gentle massage taster sessions offered by Roland

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.


Community well-being day @ Martineau Gardens

August 6th, 2017

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 is a family event that is free of charge.MGGGevent

Mother Gardens 2017 -2018

July 18th, 2017

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.

Establishing beds at Christchurch community growing site in Summerfield with local group

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.


Gaining Ground’

Kushinga gardeners with local volunteers at Thimblemill brook in Bearwood, having just finished a workday maintaining fruit trees

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.

Joint workday with Kushinga members and Sam Ewell and his volunteers establishing edible mother beds outside Winson Green prison visitors centre
Joint workday with Kushinga members alongside Sam Ewell and his volunteers establishing edible mother beds outside Winson Green prison visitors centre

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.

Learning how to graft fruit trees.
Learning how to graft fruit trees.


Propagation time: Kushinga members sowing moringa seeds. Moringa is an African tree with powerful nutritional and medicinal properties
Propagation time: Kushinga members sowing moringa seeds. Moringa is an African tree with powerful nutritional and medicinal properties.


Newly created mother bed at Centre of the Earth planted by clients of Freedom from Torture. Containing herbs, fruit bushes and perennial vegetables.
Newly created mother bed at Centre of the Earth planted by clients of Freedom from Torture. Containing herbs, fruit bushes and perennial vegetables.

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heart of england community foundation

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
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