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Thornhurst recovery hub volunteer garden project

Gardening interest is growing around Nacro, with our Thornhurt recovery hub, part of Recovery Near You (RNY) showing off their latest project. Volunteers Adam, Naomi, Olly, and Kelly, who have all under the supervision of SUIT volunteer co-ordinator Jason Spreckley, have all rolled up their sleeves to create a better space for the people we support.

Helen Kilgallon, Operations manager for Recovery Near You, said the project has been fantastic and it is exciting to think how much more can be accomplished in the coming months.

As a group, the volunteers put the below statement together about the project so far.

“When we first came to Thornhurst, this garden had been unloved for a long time due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was overgrown to the point where you couldn’t see fences in some places. We started off by just getting all of the weeds and grass cut back, digging over borders, planting seeds and borders, and making everything look tidy again.”

“We knew how much service users and even RNY volunteers loved this garden, and Thornhurst is known across the West Midlands for this space – so we really wanted to bring it back to life.”

“Working on the garden as volunteers has given us the opportunity to be outside in the sun, and some of us don’t have the green space at home to enjoy. Since restrictions began, some of us may have been isolating to stay safe so it is nice to socialise with each other and be part of something again. It also provides a sense of achievement to see how the garden develops and enables us to ‘give back’ to others.”

Thornhurst recovery hub volunteer garden project

“Gardening provides ‘peace of mind’ and being outdoors is great for wellbeing and developing skills. Some of us have never planted a seed before – now we have not only planted vegetable seeds, but we have watched them grow, potted them and got some of them into the ground to hopefully produce some salad vegetables in a month or so!”

“These are skills that we can pass on or use in future which is always handy, and now that we can see the garden take shape we also want to help out with creosoting the fencing to improve it further.”

“As volunteers we really want to see service users begin to enjoy the space again. We would love to see the space used for activities such as tennis, volleyball, and more to help physical and mental health. The garden could be used for learning, mindfulness sessions and can allow other teams/services to base themselves here at times to support service users.”

Thornhurst recovery hub volunteer garden project

“As we also have a fully functioning kitchen at Thornhurst, it would also be nice to start thinking about planting vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, and peas so that we can then use those vegetables as ingredients during cookery and nutrition classes.”

“Overall, we’re really excited about the project and are just enjoying seeing the space return to its former glory. When restrictions ease further, we would love to hold a reopening of the garden to reintroduce the service users back to Thornhurst and to finally get some use out of that barbecue!”

Thornhurst recovery hub volunteer garden project

(Pictured: Volunteers Jason, Naomi, Olly, Kelly and Adam with the green thumbs up!)