Mental health charity using its swans money to develop garden
With the cheques now handed out, the Journal spent a morning with one of the good causes that received money from the Swans of Wells to see the work they do.
South Horrington-based Heads Up is a mental health charity which provides support and activities for people living with, or recovering from mental illness .
Heads Up was formed towards the end of 2011 by some of those who had provided these services before their funding was cut. Bridget Harvey now runs the service with two staff and a team of volunteers.
Workshop activities at their Upper Breach site include pottery, woodwork, gardening, arts and crafts, a carers group, and complimentary therapies. The workshops provide opportunities for social contact and personal development.
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They are the only group which provides service of this kind in the area and those who use it help with raising funds. For instance coasters and fridge magnets were made in the pottery and sold as merchandise for the Swans of Wells.
Heads Up received £4,500 from the Swans towards their gardening project, which Lydia Shallcross will be running.
Lydia said: "Most of last year was spent preparing the garden which had become very overgrown. It's great to see the look of satisfaction on someone's face when they harvest a vegetable that they've grown from seed.
"Working with the seasons and getting back to nature, is very beneficial to one's sense of wellbeing.
"One of the most poignant moments I've had here was with someone in the gardening team. He turned round one day and said 'I don't know what it is about this place but I tell you things I don't even tell my psychiatrist.' I didn't even feel like I'd done anything but he was getting so much out of it.
"There is a gaping chasm in NHS services. For some people it's just getting out of the house once a week which can stop them feeling isolated."
The Swans grant will help develop the garden by improving disabled access and providing a new potting shed and a polytunnel to provide somewhere to work when the weather is bad.
Sally Dempsey, a member of the Heads Up fundraising committee who also runs the pottery, said: "We provide support and help for people struggling after they have been unwell. Coming here gives people purpose, before there was no purpose but they become more motivated and feel less isolated."
Derek Evans another fundraiser said: "We are entirely self-supporting so we are always looking for sponsors. We don't mind if someone gives one penny or one million, we're grateful for anything that comes in."
Heads Up is looking for a retired doctor and an accountant to join their group of voluntary trustees to help with the running of the charity. Trustees are required to attend one meeting per month, they generally last a couple of hours.
As well as trustees other volunteers are needed. There are always jobs that need doing from groundskeeping to cleaning.
If you would like to get involved you can email info@headsupsomer set.org.uk or call 01749 670667.