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Community project tackles social isolation in vulnerable people

15th November 2016

Thanks to a community grants initiative offered by Benenden, vulnerable people at risk of homelessness in Birmingham are enjoying the health benefits of a new gardening project.

Ashley Community Housing - a housing and training provider in Birmingham – have received a grant from Benenden to organise a project benefiting vulnerable people at risk of homelessness in Birmingham as well as newly arrived refugees. The project aims to increase their chances of building social networks and improve mental health through participation and engagement in practical eco-therapy activity, in an informal learning environment.

Ernie Coggins, Secretary of Benenden’s Midlands West Branch said: “The project helps reduce the risk of isolation and depression by encouraging tenants to increase their social circle and their sense of belonging to a community.

“As soon as we heard about the project, we realised how strongly it resonates with our values around health and wellbeing. The project also supports our drive towards promoting increased awareness of mental health, especially in reducing stigma and highlighting its importance as on a par with physical health.”

Josiah Harvey, Support Officer from  Ashley Housing said ”The project is helping tenants to live more sustainably by growing fruit and vegetables, and by attracting pollinators to a buffer strip in an area of high hardstanding. The project will also enable us to guide participants to other linked services and projects with the aim of furthering their progression towards independent living and becoming work ready”

Find out more about the work of Ashley Community Housing at www.ashleyhousing.com

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