Various gardening/wildlife, therapeutic projects, in areas of deprivation. Supporting unique and meaningful recoveries of participants aged 4 to 80+ experiencing mental health/ physical disability, exclusion, stigma, homelessness or addiction. Facilitating reaching of potentials together in community spaces of belonging. Participants’ design and create all projects with peer learning, hence 5 volunteers having been participants.
I began a counselling service for the homeless. This enabled some clients to later join other HTT projects. Results are an unusually high number of clients finding recoveries.
In my late 20’s I began voluntary wildlife conservation and enabling special needs. Then voluntarily creating such projects with my children alongside me, within my local community. At 45 I became employed without qualification other than this experience and passion for care and growth of people and wildlife. At 48 I started HTT, being creative and learning from the many obstacles. Being genuine helped bring support when needed.
Running various local grass roots projects I witness cyclic realities, hear people’s needs. I work with children at risk, or with homeless adults or adults with severe mental ill health, struggling to cope, some loosing children to care, often due to past trauma themselves. I see food poverty, poverty of relationships, social poverty; poverty is not solely of money. Together we explore what might help, so I can create ways to support participants to move forward in better ways. First steps of healthy relationship forming through counseling, or with nature, then with others. Through growing beautiful gardens, healthy free foods, care of wildlife, exercise and belonging of achieving/succeeding as part of a team, participants have moved forward into recoveries, own homes, vocation or employment, re-established relationship with family.
Homelessness and mental ill health numbers are rising. As a Trust we are free from official Targets that often exclude care.
KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESS FACTORS
My motivation is my experience that by listening to people in need, no matter how severe or long term the trauma or challenges, ways can be found to help. I also care deeply about wildlife and preserving natural landscapes. I experience for myself and others the results of connection/being with nature, (Richard Louvre names a Nature Deficit Syndrome as part of the ill health of our society.) GP’s and other agencies report unusual recoveries, however Participants feedback is my drive.
Sacrifice’s were worse when my children were younger; working mostly voluntary 7 days a week, setting up HTT and keeping it going. On my home computer. Now it’s easier to self care and admin hours are less, though unpaid.
Success is through creativity, passion and purpose, resilience to keep going, keeping ahead with funding! I am inspired by each person I meet truly and learn so much constantly.
SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
Empathy, listening skills, congruence and unconditional positive regard; without these the initiatives would not work. Being able to set aside my own needs and challenges, be reflective, ready to learn and adjust. Stepping out of comfort zones!
Basic skills of budgeting as I do all the monetary/funding side, apart from bookkeeping.
Ability to write well, due to funding applications/reports, media. Being truthful, heartfelt, finding funding to meet the need rather than making up projects to meet the funding, ( often funders re-fund) is as helpful, perhaps more so, as academic knowledge.
After employment in this field at 45 I did Open University mental health courses, an Award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture and trained as a Counselor. However transferable skills from Motherhood, and voluntary work, my passions and hobbies, were core. Studies enhanced my knowledge and led to inquiry. I mostly learnt from those I supported. Reflective learning through experience.