Hi all, on what is a gloomy, wet, windy day in Oxfordshire. I’m taking it as an excuse to stay indoors, write and choose my 2019 seeds. Have you chosen yours yet?
I have noticed that over the last couple of weeks I have been asked an increasing amount of questions regarding Life at No.27 as an non-profit organisation. Some of which I can answer and some I can’t just yet, either because I don’t know the answer yet or because I need to protect myself and the vision to ensure success for us all.
It’s also become clear to me that maybe in my need to protect my dream (just call me a fiercely protective mum of her baby), I have only given teaser details and not much more…unless you have read every page of my website.
So I thought I would do a Q&A to cover the aims clearly and also answer all the questions in one place for all to read. If you have any that are not covered, please comment on this piece or email me and I can add your questions too.
- What is the Life at No.27 non-profit organisation?
- It is a UK wide organisation setup and ran by myself, with the aim to raise awareness of the power of using gardening and GYO as therapy for mental health illness and resource for positive wellbeing.
- What is the vision for the organisation?
- To make gardening an easy to access, universal UK wide prescribed therapy; unlike today for those suffering with mental ill health, poor physical health, loneliness and poor confidence. Basically anyone who needs a boost and inner purpose.
- Ultimately to create a therapy option that I was never offered by my GP at 21, as an alternative choice to tablets or group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes.
- I have recently seen the fab photo (added below) showing the land which will be the first site, what will it look like?
- It will be an allotment site, but like no other. Designed to inspire, enable easy access for all abilities and drive a relaxed community spirit.
- Who can access the site and how?
- The site will only be accessible to those who have been prescribed attendance via their GP or psychiatrist. Clients will also be able to request referral directly via myself. Either option, will result in a full non-invasive assessment before being allocated a space to grow their own produce.
- Where is the site?
- In a very central location that will be revealed soon – I’m there again at the weekend to start taking measurements so we can design out the vision in my head.
- Will there only one site?
- Hell no! The long-term goal is to have these sites all in the same design across the UK, so every GP practice will have a site near them ready to take referrals.
- How long do you think it will take to get the first site ready for use?
- The aim is have the opening launch of the flagship site towards the end of April, ready for the growing year. All will be invited to come along and join the celebrations. I would love to see as many of you there!
- I would love to be involved, maybe as a volunteer…is that possible?
- Yes please – I need all the help I can get! I will posting more information soon, but I am on the hunt for volunteers who would be happy just to be on the sites and helping clients as/when needed. It could just be for a couple of hours a week or more. I am creating a volunteer database so if you are interested, please message me and I will add you to the list.
- I don’t have time to be a volunteer, but would still like to try help in some way…what could I do?
- Will this impact all the other amazing local gardening groups and charities in the UK?
- Definitely not! Myself being an ambassador for Thrive, it would make no sense to create something that could negatively impact others and it is so important for me that we are in this together. After all, we are driving for same thing…to get more people gardening and gain a better quality of life.
- Will it not be competition though? For support and funding?
- No, because I will be using alternative funding streams in most cases and where necessary, I will actually refer people from the Life at No.27 sites onto the other charities if they need more 1-1 or detailed help. Plus as I mentioned above, we are all people just wanting to help other people – it’s not about being competitive.
- Would you consider collaborating/merging with local community groups?
- Absolutely – if anyone is running a site currently, but they are interested in being part of the Life at No.27 mission and the benefits that would bring, then of course we can start conversation. The more people who come together and join me, the more noise me can make as an industry.
- Could my garden or allotment be a smaller site if I have the space but am struggling to keep on top of it?
- Absolutely, this in a nutshell is how the second element of the non-profit organisation works. Clients needing more support and routine will be assigned to the Buddy Programme instead, enabling them to be partnered with a ‘Buddy’. Who is in another words, a volunteer who has great gardening expertise, land space and a willingness to help people, but can’t keep on top of their space on their own anymore. Get in touch if you want to be become a ‘Buddy’. Please note, you will have to be willing to go through a DBS check and a general Safeguarding course before you can start.
- How are you going to make it UK wide and a universal therapy option? Especially doing all this on your own whilst doing a full time job currently.
- Gradual expansion is the answer in short, with GP and psychiatrist support. Followed by breaking in to government, running riot and making them make Life at No.27 a universal therapy option. Just like tablets and CBT, but without the government spend and any costs at all. Saving the NHS millions and removing any excuses they want to throw at me!
I think that covers everything you have asked, with as much detail as I can give. If not and you have additional questions, just let me know via here or email.