At the January SAWN meeting, Diana Tottle of SAGE Greenfingers spoke about the exciting work that she and her team does at Grimesthorpe Allotments. Here are the details:
SAGE stands for Support Arts Gardening Education. We promote the mental and physical
well-being of adults experiencing mental health problems via the provision of creative therapeutic
activities. Our largest project is SAGE Greenfingers, a horticultural therapy project based on Grimesthorpe
allotments in Burngreave, inner-city Sheffield. We also run other therapeutic projects such as singing
workshops, art and craft sessions, food growing courses.
We can offer support to men or women over 18 whose life is troubled by mental health issues. These might range from mild to severe and enduring and include diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, panic attacks, phobias, schizophrenia, psychosis, post traumatic stress disorder. We can also accommodate adults who have a dual diagnosis of learning disability &/or physical disability. Most of our projects welcome both men and women but we also offer women only activities such as the Monday women’s gardening group and the singing workshops.
Adults are usually referred to us by a health or social services professional such as a GP, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Counsellor, Social worker etc. We also take self-referrals but will ask for a referral form to be completed by such a professional to ensure we offer appropriate complementary support. Most of our clients live within a 3 mile radius of the office or the allotment site. Occasionally we take referrals from further afield if our support looks vital and cannot be provided more locally.
Late in 2014 we secured a 5 year grant from the Big Lottery and further support from The Lloyds Bank Foundation that is enabling us to further diversify our service. Besides running horticultural therapy groups per week we hope to do more arts work in community settings and provide training and advice to other organisations keen to support adults with mental health needs.
Our current staff team is 6 part-time workers, supported by a very committed team of volunteers. We are always keen to welcome more volunteers and provide good training and support. Many have left us in the past to take up work in related fields. We also have a network of Friends of SAGE who receive bi-annual newsletters on all we do and are invited to the many events we hold on and off site: Open days, travelling theatre performances, ceidlihs etc. Please get in touch if you’d like to support in any way. For more information see our website: www.sagesheffield.org.uk.