Growing works mission is to nurture lives to empower vulnerable people to build resilience. We don't only grow vegetables, we grow people. Our aims are: To promote good health in communities by providing inclusive and creative opportunities for physical activity. To aid mental well-being though the provision of outdoor therapeutic activity for: Families with complex needs People in isolated and vulnerable circumstances People with mental health issues Provide education on the natural environment and the seasons through gardening and outdoor activities for all. To run an outdoor therapeutic centre offering activities and training to a community of 500 members alongside providing satel... read more Growing works mission is to nurture lives to empower vulnerable people to build resilience. We don't only grow vegetables, we grow people. Our aims are: To promote good health in communities by providing inclusive and creative opportunities for physical activity. To aid mental well-being though the provision of outdoor therapeutic activity for: Families with complex needs People in isolated and vulnerable circumstances People with mental health issues Provide education on the natural environment and the seasons through gardening and outdoor activities for all. To run an outdoor therapeutic centre offering activities and training to a community of 500 members alongside providing satellite services to local boroughs. To be part of a community of services breaking down barriers to inclusion. Growing works values are empowering people by: Connecting to the natural world Creating inclusive and supportive communities Improving health and happiness Our Projects Include: SPRout (Strong Parents Reaching out): An innovative and unique project using a whole family approach for families who have children/young people with additional needs. SPRout provides a social group for mutual support alongside fun activities designed to increase skill in a non-judgmental, outdoor environment. The group offers space for families to relax, have fun together, enjoy the outdoors, try new things, gain skills, build confidence and share their experiences. Families make connections with others facing similar challenges therefore feel stronger together. It is aimed at all ages and abilities. Typically, families who attend have conditions including autism, ADHD, sensory impairment, sensory integration difficulties and learning disabilities although no diagnosis is required; Sprout is for anyone who feels they need a bit of extra support. Many families are affected by hidden disabilities which have additional challenges such as lack of understanding which increases feelings of isolation. Sprout has a strong foundation; initiated by parents themselves, it has run on Saturday mornings since April 2012. Over the past 6 months with team has built in strength and numbers to allow us to run a second venue due to demand and feedback from our participants and funders. We are passionate about this project because we have seen the difference it makes. We document these benefits through check in and out wellbeing surveys, 6 months in depth survey, participant profiles, photographic and observational records of individual's journey as well as written and verbal participant feedback. Young Shoots: this project was developed at the request of SPRout parents for specific work with children aged 13+ . With no parent present we offer a high staff ratio. The aim is for the children to gain life skills and confidence for independent living. Growing Works do this through 4-week blocks of 2 hours a week which we encourage attendance for the whole four weeks. There is no need to attend each course so the participant can select through interest and location. Cooking healthy food is a key course which is always popular. Other courses include bushcraft, conservation and exploration. Whatever the subject Growing Works encourage socialisation, team work, respecting boundaries and developing self-worth. The courses involve cooking, bushcraft and environmental exploration. We see places book up quickly and know that the Young people value and enjoy them as many return to further sessions. The short time commitment per week also makes it accessible for a wide range of individuals and we are encouraging them to return over a period of years. There are also opportunities for longer sessions in school holidays. Budding Up: Therapeutic gardening groups for people with long term physical and mental health conditions, carers and other isolated adults. These small groups meet in their community to enjoy the benefits of gardening and socialising in the outdoor environment. Gardening therapeutically supports mental health and well-being through activity sessions based on growing, involving shared experiences, enjoying food and bonding with others. Many of our participants live alone and cook and eat alone. Growing Works are helping individuals to gain confidence in socialising again increase self-worth and desire to return to employment where appropriate. Root: This project incorporates our fledgling herb and craft enterprise - giving volunteers confidence in creation. It also involves work experience in landscaping and garden maintenance. This is a key project for allowing adults to take a more active role in the charity and giving valuable volunteer opportunities whilst they are required. In order to play our part in creating a strong inclusive community Growing Works connect with many other charity and voluntary groups working locally. Examples of this are: planting fruit trees with local children outside their centre, hosting groups (Prince's Trust, Lab Project, Olive Branch, Kirklees College, Good Gym, River Holme Connections) at our site. This gives the opportunity for our volunteers and participants to engage with other groups and link into mainstream volunteering. Growing Works are also members of umbrella networking groups Natural Kirklees and Third Sector Leaders and attend local ward meetings to ensure we are working with others in the most efficient way possible (reducing duplication and adding value where others are focussing efforts) Growing Works core team have excellent skills in food growing but also heritage crafts (basketry, green woodworking), healthy cooking, bushcraft, native ecology which we pass onto participants during sessions. A key message is "do try this at home" and we encourage exploration of materials and methods and to share what has been learnt. Our led activities contribute to practicing gross and fine motor skills, provide occupational therapy, skills for independent living, and improved, wellbeing through connection and appreciation of nature regardless of the project that they are attached to. The future: In 2018 Growing Works received a unique opportunity to develop a council green space into a therapeutic centre. In the past 6 months we have gained funds and organised installation of Off-grid toilet, polytunnel shelter to complement the existing excellent tool storage, donated to us by Comoodle (Kirklees sharing service). Further development will continue with local groups to develop a sense of ownership and ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. The over-all aim is to increase accessibility for physical disability and a sensory garden, landscape the space for better use for green woodworking, basketmaking and bushcraft and create a safe, secure, off-grid, therapeutic space which can be accessed by all. This will be carried out with groups from the community, including our BUD and Young Shoots groups and where appropriate through the sourcing of capital funding. The aim for this site is to be self-supporting in time with volunteers able to open for groups and assign tasks. A small charge could be taken to cover a weekly clean of key areas. Currently a site manager is required to direct development of the site and it is projected that it will be three years before the site is "self -supporting", reducing in hours from 4 days per week in first year to 2 days in third year. Aims of site manager: Encourage and support a group of volunteers in construction. This group would be able to fix and create tools, baskets, trugs and benches. Skills sharing is key in use of woodworking areas that they will help develop in their own time. Encourage and support a group of volunteer gardeners (one morning a week) to grow organic seasonal food on the two plots that Growing Works have, share skills with new plot holders (there are a further 15 plots with many new) and support other groups to grow on the allotment. Encourage and support a "friends of" group to support running events for promotion and fundraising with the aim of these being entirely volunteer led in future. Growing Works will continue to run Budding Up/SPRout/Young Shoots and other projects as funds allow, hopefully for many years to come. However, the long term aim is that the availability of this unique green space to the local community would not be affected by Growing Works future project funding status.
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