Keeping hope for future projects.

Keeping hope for future projects.

By Col Stocker

'If you go down to the woods today...' Three13 is a not-for-profit accredited training provider and develops enterprises that tackle the root causes of poverty and social exclusion faced by some of the most disadvantaged people in the North East. The vision was that these enterprises sustain the support that sees Tees Valley break the cycle of generational unemployment and poverty. They are looking to open up the woodland on their land as an outdoor family facility, with forestry school activities and a 'teddy bear's picnic' nature walk.

With a 3.9 acres broadleaf woodland they are also currently developing a 1400sqm community garden. The aim is that this will be a free attraction and an important community asset. Hannah from Three13 explains a little about what their aim is. "We hope this provides opportunities for local children to develop self-esteem, self- confidence, form positive relationships and develop strategies in order to take risks within the boundaries of safety. We hope it will contribute to positive attitude to learning and stewardship of the environment" They were hoping to open the woodland by Easter 2021 to benefit children and families from Stockton and Middlesbrough.

People and Gardens was established in 1997 in St Austell , Cornwall to assist people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to develop work and social skills to enable them to take control over their own lives. Using horticulture to promote physical and emotional wellbeing they are setting up a new location at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and were looking for a bit of help to get the plan growing :-) Participants will be able to work alongside Heligan gardeners under our supervision and get outside and involved in more activities than they can provide at their current location.

Lundhill Community Group were looking to make the green space at Hillies Fields near Barnsley accessible to as many people as possible. Their Pathway Project wants to create a new, as well as upgrade existing, footpaths on the Hillies fields in order to open the area to a broader range of walkers, runners and people with disabilities during covid.

Westhoughton Vision run The Hub at Westhoughton, a vibrant, inclusive and useful space for residents. Having consulted with over 1000 residents who have felt isolated and alone during COVID and suggested a range of options to help get back to a fit and healthy lifestyle, top of the list was a walking group. Having identified a group leader they will put together a weekly walking programme for beginners, meeting in a safe place and able to maintain social distancing throughout the walking activity. This will enable them to make new friends, enjoy the fresh air and build up their healthy lifestyle, whilst helping those who have suffered with mental health during this pandemic. Once they have completed their beginners walks they will have the opportunity to join the intermediate group.

Education and Skills Development Group (ESDEG) is a charity which works to address the needs of refugees and asylum-seekers who live in West London. We are looking to help encourage and improve physical activity through Yoga and hiking for inactive and deprived women and girls from BAME and refugee backgrounds in Northolt." Their aim is to create a community of support where participants will encourage each other to take part in bi-weekly Yoga sessions with their friends and family, and to enjoy the outdoors hiking and having picnics together at the weekends.

Ahmed from ESDEG explains a bit more. "Due to the lock-down, mental health and loneliness issues have increased. Therefore, as this Yoga social club includes women and girls from all age groups, it will create opportunities for inter-generational understanding, a support network strengthening the community, well being and health of participants. We will also recruit volunteers to support participants with additional needs or health issues so they can enjoy and benefit from the sessions and the outdoor activities."

Don't Lose Hope in Bourne offers a professional counselling service for all members of the community from the age of 4. This is a free service for families/individuals receiving certain state benefits and affordable to all others. They wanted some help to improve their community garden and shed, so that it would be a better place for those affected by covid, social isolation, personal mental health issues and physical isolation to share skills, share time and reduce the negative affects that this time has brought.

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