Between 2010-2012 an Ecominds grant enabled the establishment of a community orchard as part of St Nicks nature reserve. The project has allowed volunteers with experience of mental health distress and volunteers from the wider community to come together, have fun, learn and make the most of being out in and improving a much valued green space. In time, our project will also provide an abundance of free local fruit, not to mention the benefits of greater biodiversity. There were opportunities for project involvement at different levels: from one-off workdays to orchard planning and preparation, project documentation and promotional activity, through involvement in the Core Group.
In 2012 further Ecominds funding allowed us to work on four sites in different areas of York, offering a programme of activities enabling mental health services clients to take part in looking after the sites. Our partner organisations were PCT Community Recovery Team and York MIND. Bearing Fruit was funded by Ecominds, a £7.5million funding scheme run by Mind on behalf of the BIG Lottery Fund. Ecominds involves people with direct experience of mental distress in environmental projects that improve their mental and physical health, and local communities.
Bearing Fruit has been superseded by our Ecotherapy project started in April 2015.