A few words to give you the gist of our last few meetings, just in case you missed them!
Our speaker at the April meeting was Alan Holland, Manager of Twigs, a charity in Swindon that offers therapeutic work in gardening for adults suffering with mental health problems. The charity is based in the grounds of a very tranquil community garden tucked away on the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate. Alan explained that the two and a half acre site provides a resource to enable people to engage with all kinds of activities from potting on plants to making willow supports for climbers.
Largely funded by Swindon Borough Council additional financial support is gained from selling the plants grown and the crafts made at the open days held throughout the year. Well known tv presenter Sarah Raven also sponsors the charity and provides many plants free from her mail order business that are added to the garden.
The charity has been operating for 22 years and and is run by seven paid staff; one full time and six part time. It is very much reliant on the help of over 30 independent volunteers.
Providing therapy for 80 to 100 clients each year, the garden and craft activities help build peoples’ self-esteem and confidence and encourage them to interact with others who share similar issues. The aim is to ease clients on the road to recovery or help them find ways of managing long term illnesses.
Alan explained that the garden itself didn’t have a grand plan but has evolved based on materials that became available and the inspiration of those who attend the sessions or who work there.
Alan said he enjoyed the enthusiasm of our group and thanked us for our generosity. One of our members kindly made a personal donation because she felt the work being done by Twigs was so worthwhile.
Mike Howarth our November Speaker