The programme, Seed to Succeed, has been funded by Ecominds, a £7.5million funding scheme run by Mind on behalf of the BIG Lottery Fund. Ecominds involves people with direct experience of mental distress in environmental projects that improve their mental and physical health as well as their local communities.
The pioneering partnership between the two charities hopes to combine the mentally rehabilitative qualities of gardening with the practical results that can be gained from such a project – namely transforming neglected plots of land into thriving green spaces for growing (and selling) healthy organic produce. Working closely with Crisis’ Skylight Café in London, the concepts of ‘seed to plate’ and growing herbs and flowers for use in the commercial space will be explored at the Attlee Youth & Community Centre.
Seed to Succeed will offer homeless people new skills and accreditations through OCR and City & Guilds that could lead to further education, such as apprenticeships or vocational qualifications, and employment, such as regular part-time work.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:
"It has long been known that gardening has many therapeutic benefits and much research has been done on the subject. It has already proven an effective tool to improve the mental health, physical wellbeing of homeless and vulnerably-housed people. The workshops will help build skills such as decision making, team work and patience. These are essential in rehabilitation and progression."
It is hoped that the progressive project will help build community cohesion in the area and lessen stigma and discrimination towards homeless people. Crisis is giving healthy eating classes as well as ongoing training on the nutritional value of crops, herbs and plants.
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