In the last few months I have been volunteering to bring the opportunity to work with willow to vulnerable people in Shrewsbury. The project is called 360 Back Garden and has been established to support those more vulnerable in our community.
The 360 Back Garden is a relational based project that works one to one with clients who are looking to gently develop their skills, but more importantly their own confidence and self worth. Through gardening, basic woodwork and outdoor craft, mentors work one to one alongside clients in small numbers in a safe environment. We enjoy working together, but also gathering around the garden table to share cake and coffee. 360 Back Garden is informal with no limit on how long a person can attend. Most referrals come through the mental health team or through personal recommendations.
Working alongside one client I have seen a gradual development in her enthusiasm and confidence working with willow. As well as being an enjoyable experience, I feel hopeful that these skills can be transferred to other aspects of her life. We began by making a willow bird feeder and then progressed to a large willow flower, and we aim to eventually work on making a small round basket. Whatever we make is not so important as the opportunity this provides for slowly gaining confidence and building a trusting relationship through the craft.
If you'd like anymore information, get in contact with me.