Who are we?
Natureworks Training CIC has been running community based horticulture projects for 22 years. We work with some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in our community. Our certified organic cut flower farm in South Gloucestershire (Organic Blooms) harnesses the incredible power of the natural environment to heal, support, train and employ those who face significant barriers to work. Our amazing team share the same dreams and aspirations as we all do. At Organic Blooms, we hope to make these dreams a reality.
What do we do?
We believe that the right kind of work is life changing - providing structure, distraction from pain or intrusive thoughts, friendship, a potential income, self worth and hope for the future - and what could be a better place to grow and develop, than on an organic flower farm!
Our team of amazing horticulturalists and florists run over 100 session per week to people in our local area who are referred through NHS and Local Authority teams because they are in need of specialist support, due to disabilities or support needs. They may be struggling with enduring mental illness, autistic spectrum disorder, or learning difficulties. We have designed our flower farm to be welcoming, supportive and to bring the best out of people.
Our team is diverse, inclusive, grounded, hilarious at times, and there is never a dull day!
'My best day is when I look across our flower field and see groups of people being quietly productive, absorbed in their work, helping each other and feeling satisfied with a good job done.' (Jo, founder director)
What is the Healing Communities Project?
We held our own during the pandemic - demand for our flowers increased in some areas, but weddings and event flower sales were hit hard. Our team valued the oasis of our flower farm and the structure of a work routine even more than ever.
Rebuilding after 2 unprecedented years of global anxiety and isolation is a challenge for every organisation, but especially for small community businesses working with the most vulnerable people in society.
We have had more enquiries than ever post-pandemic as people struggle to re-engage with society, particularly those who were already vulnerable, isolated or anxious, plus so many young people in crisis, and more recently, Ukrainian refugees. The Healing Communities project is about reaching out to these people and showing them, through structured, accessible gardening and floristry sessions, that they can manage their anxiety, their depression, their panic attacks in our supported, friendly and safe space, and start to live again.
So why do we need your help?
We want to open our flower farm up this Summer to individuals and groups across our community who are in need of a short term, bite-sized dose of care and attention to get them back on the right track. This work is difficult to fund through statutory funding, since the need may not be 'substantial' or 'critical', but in our experience, a small intervention now will prevent a crisis in the future. Covid has left so many people 'on the edge', as has the Ukraine war, the cost of living crisis and concern over climate change. We are carrying such heavy burdens in 2022. Our 9 acre floral oasis can offer a healing space to those who need it. We will take self referrals, referrals from GPs, green prescribers and family and friends. We will promote Healing Communities through schools, libraries, on social media and through other voluntary sector organisations. We want to reach as many people as possible this year to bring some sunshine back into their lives.
How will we use the funding?
We will use the funding raised to pay staff costs and materials to run 10 hours of extra sessions per week, for groups of up to 15 people. We aim to work with 300+ people in need. We particularly want to reach groups and individuals who are isolated - children who are struggling to attend school due to anxiety - the legacy of COVID; older people who are afraid to venture outside again; front line workers who are burnt out. There are many emotional and mental scars left from the past 2 years that we can heal through well designed and delivered horticulture and floristry session.
Bringing the community into the heart of our farm, either by way of local volunteers, customers, corporate events or visiting community groups is something we encourage at our flower farm. It breaks down barriers, challenges perceptions, provides role models and broadens everyone's horizons.
Your donations can make this a reality for our community. We are not afraid of hard work, have a proven track record and an amazing, capable team who can make this happen.
We will be sharing some personal stories throughout our campaign about what work at Organic Blooms has done for the people who work here.
We thank you for your support - please send this link to anyone who you think may be interested in supporting us.