Participant and community feedback
Quotes from service users and the community
We’ve had lots of letters and feedback from our servicer users and their local communities. Hear how our Ecominds projects have been helping people recover from mental distress and transforming green spaces across the country. Here is a small selection – we’ll be adding lots more soon.
The work you have done on the allotment is fantastic! You have enhanced the whole allotment and we are pleased to have you here. JC, allotment holder next to Grow It, Debyshire
I leave the allotment with a sense of satisfaction and contentment, I have such a relaxing night after being on the allotment. I have made friends that I can talk to: that helps my worries go away and I don’t feel so isolated.RB, Grow It service user, Debyshire
This is the only project that I know of like it in Bristol. I suggested it to one of my service users and he loves it. He is now enjoying planning and cooking healthy meals and gardening. He has given up smoking and is enjoying being in the fresh air. He is more relaxed and cheerful and feels he has more purpose in his life.Kevin Murphey, Community Psychiatric Nurse Cabot Community Mental Health Team, on Grow It-Eat It, Bristol
I have learnt about new and healthy foods and recipes and cooking tips. I enjoy mixing and getting out of the house. Angela, Grow It-Eat It participant, Bristol
I am really enjoying learning about and practicing healthy eating. The exercise is getting me fitter and I like being outside. My communication skills are improving and I am able to help other people in the group which is helping my confidence.Mark, Grow It-Eat It participant, Bristol
Having spent seven years unemployed due to mental distress and experiencing some really dark days I am really excited to have the opportunity to return to the working world and use the insight I gained to help others achieve their goals. The Pride & Prejudice project has given me this chance and I think that there needs to be more projects like this.Cilla, Pride & Prejudice Coordinator, Devon
Initially I was very anxious about joining the group, but everyone made me feel welcome and at home. After my first session I came away feeling very optimistic about the future. I returned home and many people commented on how happy and bubbly I was. I always felt good after all the sessions and made many friends. Eco-Route project participant, Ipswich
It’s about time someone did something about it, it’s got to a point where you bring your kids to school through the town rather than along the beck because of all the litter and dog dirt. You’ve made a real difference.Local resident after seeing a local beck renovated by a community group that inlcuded Out and About participants, Northeast Middlesbrough and Stockton.
I like being outside and talking to the other people on the project. It gives me a reason to get up in the mornings.Jon, Out and About project participant, Northeast Middlesbrough and Stockton
I didn’t think I would like the walk as I get really nervous when I’m outside but I felt safe and talking with Jim [the support worker] and the other walkers took my mind off worrying. After the walk me and my husband decided to walk home rather than get a taxi.Debra, Out and About project participant, Northeast Middlesbrough and Stockton
Letter to Gardening-4-Health, West Norfolk Mind
‘The Mind allotment means several things to me. I had lost all my confidence when I joined the allotment just over a year ago. I was lonely, very anxious and fearful. I could not connect with a power greater than myself and thought I was the cause of all the problems around me. I had totally lost my creativity.
At the time, my home was a battle field and until I became a service user at Mind I had no where to go as I have no family. The allotment quickly became a haven. I could go there in the week and meet up with other service users, volunteers and the therapeutic allotment supporter. At the weekend it was a place of tranquillity and peace where I can commune with nature.
I do not have holidays, meals out etc and the allotment has given me the opportunity to use my mind in a creative way. I have a double patch on the main allotment and have currently created Heaven and Hell! My very own RHS Chelsea Garden Show.
I have reclaimed two areas of waste land. One strip behind the big shed and another from the disused manure patch. I grew some lovely sweet peas and other flowers behind the shed and tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash and courgettes on the manure patch.
Another allotment holder has advised me with some recipes and I have found them delicious and very nutritious.
It has helped in a big way to allow me to start to restore my sanity. Gardening-4-Health, service user.
Letter to Gardening-4-Health, West Norfolk Mind
“I got involved at a time when life was a mess. I was experiencing depression, anxiety, and OCD. I had worked as a postman for 30 years but had to give it up. I didn’t go out, was nervous about meeting people – I just sat in my own four walls.
The first night after going down to the allotment, my muscles ached. But it broke a cycle. Whereas usually I would have depressive thoughts going round and round in my head, now I was focussing on how I felt physically instead. I got a good night’s sleep for the first time in ages.
Working on the allotment made me want to get out of bed again. After a few weeks I felt so much fitter and healthier. I also felt better about going out and seeing people – now I had something to talk about. Before I hadn’t felt as though I had much to say.
It was really satisfying - the things I was planting were growing, and people were saying well done and enjoying the vegetables I had grown.
The social aspect gave me a boost too. I went from thinking I was alone to realising that other people have the same kinds of problems. And it’s a real community down there – people from other allotments are always coming over for a chat and to share tips.
I was over the moon when I was asked to volunteer on the project. Then I was encouraged to apply for a part-time job there. It was my first interview in over 30 years so I was nervous – and really surprised when I got the job.
It gives me great pleasure to work with people on the allotment, helping them to get the benefits that I had from it.
I see people coming to the project timid and quiet, just like I was when I first started. Then after a while they come and have a laugh and a joke. I recognise my own progress in them.”
Gardening-4-Health, service user.