I was referred to Growing Space by the Early Intervention Team and started in April for ongoing support. I had recently finished a work placement and was looking to take part in meaningful work based activity.
I stated working in the gardens alongside the other volunteers maintaining borders, potting on in the greenhouse and other related horticultural tasks.
I was encouraged to sign up for a qualification, soon after I found employment working in a local bakery. I will be forever grateful for the support and encouragement I received whilst attending Growing Space, which helped build up my confidence and enabled me to gain employment in such a short space of time
I had no expectations and didn’t know what I'd get from the project, but I was encouraged to get involved by my OT, as she thought it would be good for my recovery, to get me outdoors and do something other than sit indoors all day.
Growing Space have showed me how to grow plants from sowing seeds, caring for them, growing them on to harvesting and using them to cook.
'I have felt a mega improvement in my confidence, I'm not afraid to have a go at any garden activity and feel confident to show and explain to others what I’ve learnt. I’ve enjoyed working with Louise, learning new skills and doing tasks with my peers and have felt confident enough to become a peer mentor on the ward for new patients.’ (Karen has also completed the Peer mentoring course with GS)
Being involved in the gardening has improved my well being by being outside in the open instead of being stuck inside. It has helped me think more positively about my future. If or when I get a property of my own after leaving the hospital I would like to try and use the skills I've learnt to grow my own veg in my own space.
Darren was an active, healthy young man who loved playing sport, having fun and had a great job. At the age of 36 Darren broke his neck in a freak football accident. His life was turned upside down.
Two years later, Darren was depressed, suffered from extreme low confidence and lonely. He felt if he was the” only one” in his position and was ready to give up.
It was at this point Darren came to Growing Space. He told us he wanted to be “normal” and get a life back. After much discussion with Darren we placed him in the IT and Personal Development group with others his age who liked a bit of banter and “a laugh”. Darren soon settled in and responded well, not only did this lift his mood but he also achieved qualifications.
When he was ready we contacted the Community Connectors to link Darren up with others in the local community and we attended a few “coffee and chat” mornings with him until his confidence grew enough for him to attend on his own. Our contacts there gave us details of a charity that deals only with people with neck and spinal injuries. We put him in touch with “Back up Trust” and as a result Darren now has a mentor of his own age with very similar injuries. Darren speaks to his mentor on a regular basis and is finding it, in his words “brilliant – at last I don’t feel like the only one – there are actually others like me!!”
Also through this charity we have booked Darren on a “next steps” four day workshop in Bath in September. It is aimed at people with spinal injuries and how they can move their lives forward. The course provides accommodation and specialist care so Darren can attend independently. The cost is £200 which Darren would find difficult to pay so we will arrange to pay this for him through our funding.
As Darren enjoyed sport and we knew missed it, we have linked him up with a local archery club for people with disabilities through Sport Disability Wales. His first session is next week.
Darren is a different person to the one who started with us only a few months ago, we now see his sense of humour, we see his confidence grow and yes he has set backs but even when he is in pain and not well, he very rarely misses our sessions.
I spoke to Darren to ask his permission to relate his story and he said to me “please tell them without Growing Space I would not be here” -