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Trust Links partners with young parents’ service for ‘Ready, Steady, Grow’ competition

25 June 2021

Essex-based mental health and wellbeing charity Trust Links is supporting residents at Fairfax Drive, a supported housing service for young parents, to encourage them to learn invaluable life skills, meet new people and build their self-confidence through gardening.

Residents preparing their entry for the Ready Steady Grow gardening competitionResidents preparing their entry for the Ready Steady Grow gardening competition

With the annual launch of their competition, ‘Ready, Steady, Grow’, Sanctuary Supported Living’s residents are being encouraged to get outdoors, reaping the benefits of therapeutic gardening. Staff hope to prepare residents for when they move on to independent accommodation whilst providing them with a fun and creative outlet, enriching their mental health by fostering more positive, confident mindsets.

‘Ready, Steady Grow’ is open to all Sanctuary Supported Living and Sanctuary Retirement Living residents, whether they have access to a large communal garden or have their own small garden, balcony or courtyard. Residents participating in the ‘Welcoming Nature’ category are encouraged to transform their gardens or window pots and boxes, welcoming all that nature has to offer. Meanwhile, ‘Seasonal Pride’ entrants can grow vegetables and/or fruit from scratch.

Trust Links, South East Essex’s local charity for mental health and wellbeing, has donated a selection of their plants to their local Sanctuary Supported Living service, Fairfax Drive in Southend, including flowers for pollinating insects and vegetable plants. Thanks to Trust Links and their other supporters, the young parents who live at Fairfax Drive, and their children, will have a wonderful collection of plants to produce the very best gardens they possibly can, making this competition all the more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Residents who have participated in ‘Ready Steady Grow’ over previous years have experienced the benefits of therapeutic gardening, expressing that the competition positively affected their mental health. Sanctuary Supported Living and Trust Links hope that this project will continue to change lives, with its sense of community and personal development empowering residents.

Abigail Lynch, Local Service Manager at Sanctuary Supported Living’s Fairfax Drive, said: “We’re very grateful to Trust Links for their support with our ‘Ready Steady Grow’ gardening competition entry. The young parents who live here at Fairfax Drive will benefit so much from being able to get out in the garden, experiencing nature and growing their own fruit and vegetables. As well as the mental and physical health benefits from gardening, it’s a great way for their young children to start learning about wildlife, where food comes from and the importance of healthy eating. We wouldn’t be able to do this without such kind and generous support from our local community, so it really does mean a lot.”

We’re very grateful to Trust Links for their support with our ‘Ready Steady Grow’ gardening competition entry.

Abigail Lynch, Local Service Manager

Trust Links hosts a range of life-changing activities for members of the local community, including therapeutic gardening sessions, recovery classes, social activities, employment training schemes and much more, supporting those living with mental health difficulties and unpaid carers alike. Its projects reach around 1,500 people in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford each year and they’re delighted to be extending this by collaborating with the residents and staff at Fairfax Drive.

Matt King, CEO of Trust Links, said: “We are really pleased to support Sanctuary Supported Living and their ‘Ready, Steady, Grow’ project, encouraging the young parents living at Fairfax Drive to engage with the outdoors. Their aspiration is to develop gardens for wildlife and food growing, something which we believe is incredibly important.

Many of us have seen the benefits of engaging with nature, wildlife and the outdoors over the last year and it is fantastic that Sanctuary Supported Living’s residents will have the opportunity to develop biodiverse, beautiful spaces of their own making. The sense of accomplishment that comes from growing your own plants, fruit and veg is incredibly fulfilling; we’re thrilled that we’re now helping to share this feeling with even more people in need.”

From Monday 19 July - Monday 26 July, the public can vote for their favourite gardens via the Sanctuary Supported Living website. For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s supported housing services for young people and young parents, visit our young people page, read residents’ stories or search for a young persons’ service near you.

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