In February, the Welcome Centre hosted a shared meal and short film show to launch a new project run by SAGE Greenfingers. From their base at Grimesthorpe Allotments, SAGE Greenfingers, an established local charity, offers creative therapeutic activities to a community of adults experiencing mental health problems (http://www.sagesheffield.org.uk).
John Lawson introduced the new Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project, funded through Ecominds, a Big Lottery grant managed by Mind. This project hopes to enable 20 refugees and asylum seekers with mental health concerns to work alongside other members on the Greenfingers allotments over the next year or so. Workers and volunteers from many Sheffield based food growing initiatives attended the evening as well as a number of refugees and asylum seekers.
Continuing with the theme of asylum and allotments, in early March the Welcome Centre showed “Grow Your Own”. This film, a comedy, fictionalises the arrival of a number of refugees and asylum seekers on a ‘typical’ allotment site somewhere in Lancashire. Within the comic setting of cantankerous northerners, the film allows the painful stories of the refugees to be told. There was a large audience for this event who were all moved by the film as well as having a good laugh. The film highlighted the way that growing vegetables and flowers, together with a supportive group of people, can help improve life for people in distress.
There is a strong network of local allotment projects and anyone interested should email the Messenger for further information. If anyone would like to find out more or knows of refugees/asylum seekers or others who might benefit from the work of SAGE Greenfingers, contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org.