Veterans Growth: Promoting Positivity & Well-being through Horticulture
Veterans’ Growth works with ex-military personnel to promote positive mental health and well-being. Offering horticultural therapy, it provides a wide range of activities based around growing food, ornamental plants and cut flowers. The charity has a 5-acre site in Westfield, East Sussex.
The first seeds were sown at the charity in April and since then, the site has literally blossomed. Veterans and volunteers have worked together to install a polytunnel, raised beds, compost heaps and an outdoor growing area for fruit, vegetables and flowers. Since the charity took over the site in Dec 2019, over 1500 trees have been planted on-site under the governments initiative to plant a million trees a year.
The site is run according to organic growing principles and protecting local wildlife is of paramount importance. The charity has had a biodiversity audit conducted and one of its aims is to safeguard any species that already call the site home and to find ways to increase biodiversity moving forward. To this end, they have set aside a specific wildlife area where native plant species will be encouraged to spread. To increase tree coverage, 75 native trees have just been added to this area.
CEO Jason Stevens said: “We are thankful for the opportunity to work from this extensive site. It affords us the space to welcome veterans who can work productively in a tranquil and beautiful setting. The site is a place where veterans can come for respite, for support and for social interaction. We’ve already received fantastic support from GreenBlue Urban Limited who have provided us with a Sanitation station for use during the Covid 19 pandemic, If the Covid 19 pandemic has shown us one thing, it has been that support is imperative to what we want to achieve as a charity. With many organisations cutting back on staff or offices and the lack of face-to-face meetings happening, Veterans’ Growth has been lucky. We’ve been able to keep expanding and to continue our support for veterans more than ever, in a Covid secure way”.
“On behalf of Veterans’ Growth, I would like to thank everyone for their support since the beginning. We are always looking for more support to help us achieve our aim and I would like to take this opportunity to highlight our Crowdfunder. We are raising funds to plant and manage a fruit tree orchard. Once the orchard is planted, we can hold workshops in orchard management and can use the fruit grown to feed veterans and make products we can sell to raise funds. We have received a grant for match funding but we must reach 70% of our total by Jan 15th 2021 to be eligible”
The charity is currently staffed entirely by volunteers and would welcome support to help it move forward with its aims. If you feel you can offer assistance, please email Hello@veteransgrowth.org or if know a veteran who might be interested and would like to take part in one of the courses or to find out more, please text or call 07379 435513.