Therapeutic Gardening - Early Winter 2023
As winter approaches, we feel a certain sense of regret as we clear the veg, herb and ornamental beds after a very productive growing season. The garden is naturally bare at this time of year, but it gives us an opportunity to do some much needed maintenance, to give our scarecrows a make-over and to spread compost on the beds for the following year. We like to get the group together to discuss creative ideas for future development of the garden and there is always something new on the go. Inclement weather can also be a great excuse to cosy up in the sanctuary building around the wood burner and to get busy with arts and crafts and cooking. We are very pleased with our latest green tomato chutney using the last of the tomatoes from our poly tunnel. We are also starting to prepare for our Christmas gathering and are looking forward to joining with family and friends around a bonfire on 19 December to sing carols and share a bit about our experience of the last year.
Sponsored Walk - 18 May 2023
On 18 May staff, volunteers and gardening therapy participants had a very enjoyable day doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the project. We were blessed with mild, dry weather and thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful circular route from Blanchland village, up onto the moor and back in time for tea and cake at the white monk tea rooms. The final amount raised from the walk was a fabulous £2,026 through the JustGiving site, plus £220 paid directly to our bank account. This makes £2,246, plus Gift Aid of £473.50, which gives us a grand total of £2,719.50. Huge thanks to everyone who walked and to those who sponsored us. This was a fantastic effort, which helps to keep the project open to everyone.
Sponsored Bike Ride - Land's End to John O' Groats
In June/July 2023, Ruth Briel, trustee and gardening therapy volunteer with Let's Get Growing cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for our bursary fund. This raised in excess of £2,000 for our project. We are in awe of Ruth's achievement in completing the ride and hugely grateful to all who sponsored her.
Our wonderful Sanctuary building is still available for hire by third parties as an alternative workshop space or away day venue-please see photos below. The building has a newly-fitted kitchen, wood burner and the poshest compost loo you have ever come across! It's simple, cosy and the setting is truly idyllic. Cost £50/half day or £100/full day. All proceeds go towards maintaining the building to support our gardening therapy work. For more information on hiring the building or to check dates, do contact us
Valentine's Day Panto 2023
Valentine's Day Panto Work on our annual panto was curtailed before Christmas due to a variety of colds and flu, so we made the decision to delay our long-awaited performance of Cinderella to Tuesday 14 February. This took place in the ballroom at Minsteracres Retreat Centre. There was much hilarity amongst participants as they prepared costumes, rehearsed lines and practised dance moves. We were impressed with the dramatic talent which emerged! Sincere thanks to volunteer, Dianne Keetch, who has very skill fully taken on the role of masterminding this event. To watch a video of our performance, please click on the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncVlrydOsw0&ab_channel=MinsteracresRetreatCentre
Funding update As a registered charity, Let's Get Growing is committed to keeping its therapeutic horticulture service available to all, regardless of financial circumstances. The majority of participants attending our gardening therapy days are able to access a personal budget or direct payment. Those who are not supported through the NHS can apply to our bursary fund, as we have a clear policy of welcoming all, irrespective of personal means. The nature of the beneficiary groups with whom we work means that some charitable funding is therefore needed to support our work. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and the Boundary Lane Windfarm Community Fund for generously supporting us in 2022.
We now have a JustGiving donations page, which makes it easy to support the work that we do with people living with mental health and learning difficulties, some of whom may be unable to work and may not be eligible for statutory funding to cover their attendance at gardening therapy sessions. Every little makes a difference and we are very grateful for every contribution we receive.
One of our long-standing participants, Andrew da Costa used his considerable skills as a photographer to produce a fantastic photographic record of the group’s activities through the seasons of the gardening year, with support from volunteer, Veronica Bell. Other participants have enjoyed coming up with humorous captions for the pictures. He hope to have a link to this in the very near future.