Three young children in green leaves outdoor learning spaceDonations

The Friends of Collett School

Creating forest learning space for children with Special Educational Needs

The Friends of Collett School approached the Axis Foundation to help convert an overgrown, unused forest area to a forest school area for children with Special Educational Needs. And we were delighted to make a donation of £540 to create learning packs for the project.

“This is such wonderful news! On behalf of everybody at The Friends of Collett School, thank you very much for your donation and support – it is really, really appreciated” – Rhea Dickman , Fundraising Lead, The Friends of Collett School

More about the Forest Learning Space

The forest learning space for children with Special Educational Needs will include outside blackboards, a fit pit for cooking, sensory equipment, a mud kitchen and bug hotel, a trim trail, a living fedge and a den-making area.

All these fun and educational work stations will help Collett’s children with Special Educational Needs engage with nature in a safe and supportive space. The children will learn transferable gardening skills, develop communication and cognitive skills and improve their self esteem and confidence.

The Collett School for Special Educational Needs in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire will also invite local community groups and special and mainstream schools to use the forest learning area.

And there’s more about the school here

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Gardening for people with disabilityDisability

FarmAbility

Transporting people with disabilities to beneficial farm-based tasks and outdoor activities

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £7,000 to FarmAbility will provide minibus, taxi or car transport for a year to ensure co-farmers (people with learning disabilities, many also with autism) can get to FarmAbility’s outreach partner farms, landed estates or gardens in a COVID-safe way.

Here co-farmers, many of whom are who are almost entirely excluded from workplaces and from employment, will engage in an outdoor, purposeful day sessions focusing on their needs and ability levels.

 “We know from our eight years’ experience that a regular weekly outdoor, active session involving practical, farm-based tasks has a lasting, positive impact on the mental and physical health of people with disabilities. So, a HUGE thank you to the Axis Foundation for the donation: it means a great amount to us – particularly during these challenging times. Working day-to-day with co-farmers and the team I know that being able to support the transport needs of co-farmers and staff will have a positive effect on our programme” – Jason Warner, Programme Manager, FarmAbility

More about FarmAbility

FarmAbility enables co-farmers (people with learning disabilities, many also with autism) to develop skills and competencies for purposeful living through participation in programmes on farms, estates and growing spaces. FarmAbility is based in Oxfordshire and runs programmes primarily from the Blenheim Estate in Woodstock and on a number of ‘outreach’ partner farms and growing spaces around the county. These include: FAI Farms (Wytham), Fair Close Community Farm (Wolvercote), FarmEd (Shipton-u-Wychwood) and Harcourt Arboretum.

FarmAbility’s programme is run by experienced, committed Programme Leaders who work with small groups of co-farmers with an approach that focuses more on ‘enabling’ than ‘supporting’ and which is informed by occupational therapy. They offer co-farmers a changing seasonal schedule of farm and gardening activities, guided by personal choice and individual needs, which includes activities such as vegetable gardening and orchard management, an organic egg enterprise, woodworking, basic animal husbandry, woodland work (coppicing, tree planting) and seasonal farm tasks.

More here 

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Man and wheelbarrow standing in front of polytunnelCare

Green Health

Our donation supports people with mental health difficulties

Green Health Thames Valley (GHTV) helps people with mental health difficulties through horticulture-based programmes and activities.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £4,450 purchased a polytunnel, raised beds and green roofs for the sheds for their community garden in Whitley. 

“We are thrilled with the support from the Axis Foundation. Our new polytunnel is fantastic. It enables us to extend our growing season and provide warm dry space for clients. We have installed new raised beds and have finalised designs for a new green roof which will be created very soon. It’s so exciting seeing these improvements. Thank you to all at Axis Foundation. Your support means so much to us all at GHTV” – Richard Byard, Chair of GHTV

More about Green Health

The horticultural programmes at Reading-based Green Health help marginalised and isolated clients. Here they can engage with nature, create projects and participate in physical activities. They can also socialise with other clients and locally-based volunteers. As a result, they become more confident, less socially isolated and develop new skills that move them closer to economic activity and independence.

In addition to helping people with their mental health, GHTV also aims to protect physical health through encouraging  horticulture-related physical activity and promoting healthy eating.

The charity additionally aims to improve the places and spaces of their local communities.

Find out more about the work of Green Health Thames Valley here.

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Group pictures of volunteers at one of WellChild's Helping Hands projectsCare

WellChild’s Helping Hands project

Making homes and gardens accessible for young people with exceptional health needs

Many children and young people live in homes which are not suitable for their needs. The Axis Foundation has donated £6,250 to WellChild, supporting children and young people with exceptional healthcare needs. Their Helping Hands project regularly enlists volunteers to create safe, stimulating gardens in the homes of sick children.

A donation like this will allow us to offer more help to families who really need it. We are very grateful to Axis for this kind donation to the WellChild Helping Hands programme.”- Lorna Pedersen, Head of Wellchild

Our funding will give at least four more children accessible sensory areas to enjoy. A sensory garden can be a haven for children with complex needs because it’s a place that allows them to develop. It is also a familiar environment, so children get the opportunity to actually enjoy playing outside.

More About Wellchild

Having children with complex conditions often makes going out as a family impossible. So Wellchild’s projects are a lifeline for families who need an outdoor space to spend time in together. The project offers organisations a unique opportunity to have a direct impact on their local community. Through volunteering days companies can have fantastic team building experiences, while improving the lives of many people. WellChild has already worked on over 390 gardens UK wide and has over 90 successful London projects.

To find out more, visit www.wellchild.org.uk.

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Two women at Rohan Gardens care home with gardening equipmentCommunity

Rohan Gardens Support Group

We help to preserve and maintain gardens at Care Home

The Axis Foundation has contributed £1000 to the Rohan Gardens Support Group. The group preserves, maintains and improves the outdoor areas at Rohan Gardens Care Home in Warwick. The donation will also help put on events, like barbecues and tea parties. Because of their work on the garden, more residents will be drawn in to enjoy the fresh air and engage with the community.

The team at Rohan Gardens has been building on the work of a small group of residents led by Sylvia Avery. Sylvia said, “I first came to Rohan Gardens over 6 years ago and my apartment overlooks the main community garden. Looking out I was less than inspired by the bland, no colour vista. So I decided to do something about it.”

Since then, the group has volunteered their own time and money to grow a relaxing space for residents. They have improved the garden by introducing a summerhouse, water feature, gazebo and garden furniture. The group won a gold medal in the Community Gardens category at the Warwick in Bloom horticultural awards 2018/2019.

Secretary of the group, Gary Hawkins said: “Over the past two years we have worked hard to establish the garden as a place for residents to relax in and enjoy the outdoor space. We are investing the money in equipment, topsoil, future planting and other related items. We would not have been able to do so without help from the Axis Foundation.”

The garden is an environment that provides sanctuary for 70 residents living at the care home. It’s a safe outdoor space where people can walk around as well as sit and interact with others. All of this means a higher quality of life for residents making the care home a much brighter place to live.

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People bee-keeping at bee urban charityCommunity

Bee Urban

Improving facilities at a London bee-keeping social enterprise

Bee Urban is a honeybee-centric social enterprise promoting ecologically-sound practice around urban greening, building, farming and particularly bee-keeping.

It’s not just about bees however! Over 4,000 people a year visit the site in Kennington. At Bee Urban they work with disadvantaged, vulnerable people including those with mental health needs and learning difficulties. Local pupils learn about the environment, regeneration and wildlife in curriculum-relevant workshops and Volunteers are always welcome.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £5,000 will contribute to making important improvements at the premises of this valuable local resource. These include: creating more planting space – to support the honey bees and to increase local biodiversity; improving the hardstanding to make the site safer and more accessible – particularly for those with mobility issues – and supporting a new aquaponics system.

“The funds from Axis Europe will help us to improve the accessibility of our garden space, enhancing the experience for elderly and disabled people who wish to access the grounds. We have wanted to make these improvements for a while but have lacked the resources to do so. The funds will make this possible and will improve everyone’s experience at Bee Urban. Thank You Axis.”
Barnaby Shaw, Bee Urban

The Axis Foundation reached a decade of donations this year. Read more about our 10th Birthday here and share the good news #10YrsGiving

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Community Event at Culpeper Community Garden in IslingtonCommunity

Culpeper Community Garden

Local community gardening project is Eden in Islington

Islington’s award-winning Culpeper Community Garden works closely with local organisations who support vulnerable people. Many schools come here to learn about nature. There is a wealth of activities and workshops for adults and thousands of members of the public also visit this haven every year.

The RHS has warmly praised Culpeper, a registered charity, in their London in Bloom competition. “Culpeper is an outstanding example of community gardening in the city… It’s social and therapeutic horticultural at its best.”

“The money from the Axis Foundation, £2,000, will be used for environmental education and gardening sessions with groups and local schools. I am so happy that the Foundation’s grant can further support our projects at Culpeper.

“Culpeper’s a wonderful green community centre in the heart of London where people from every background, advantage and disadvantage can relax and work together in a beautiful green space. I call it a ‘little garden of Eden’. The garden has been a source of pleasure and inspiration to me for over 30 years” – Margaret Pitt, Trustee

More about Culpeper

Culpeper Community Garden is close to several large housing estates in Islington and is run by locals on organic and sustainable principles. It is one of London’s oldest city parks / community gardening in the city projects and land here comprises 46 plots for local residents and groups, communal areas (including a pond, wildlife area, lawn and rose pergola), a community building and a tea hut for members.

Supporting vulnerable people

Culpeper supports the Elfrida Society, the Stuart Low Trust, Room to Heal and Islington Mind. These local organisations help vulnerable people including those with learning difficulties and mental health issues as well as isolated people and asylum seekers. Each organisation has a weekly session at Culpeper and a plot of their own to cultivate.

“This garden is like paradise for us. When I came here, I was very depressed and without hope. It was winter and now for me it’s spring,” – Garden Volunteer

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Outdoor and indoor produce growing at OrganicleaCommunity

Organiclea

Accessibility enhancements at community food project

For those with physical disabilities who attend Organiclea in Chingford, gardening is an invaluable physical intervention, developing strength, co-ordination, balance and motor skills.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £1,000 will increase the community food project’s accessibility for those with disabilities – for example by improving wheelchair access and providing raised beds as accessible outdoor growing areas.

“We were so happy to receive funding from the Axis Foundation, allowing us to improve our facilities for those with special needs, particularly wheelchair users, making gardening more accessible for everyone. I have plans to involve our special needs students in the construction of the raised beds the Axis Foundation have funded, that the same group will then use to grow vegetables, salads and flowers in. Thanks Axis Foundation for helping us with our work!” – Joe Wensley SEN Young People’s Co-ordinator

More About Organiclea

An important community resource, situated in the 12-acre site of Hawkwood Plant Nursery, Organiclea community food project welcomes people from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and abilities. Organiclea currently works with 16 students with special educational needs and regularly works with around 10-15 others with a physical difficulty or disability. Volunteers here benefit from their accredited training offering and Organiclea also works with schools and colleges – including SEN and PRU – housing estates and care homes on projects to do with food growing and the environment.

 

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Colourful planters with large ladybird models at Carmel Caterpillars pre-schoolDonations

Carmel Caterpillars Pre-School

Helping children learn through play

Carmel Caterpillars Pre-school is a committee-run service in Sittingbourne that has been running for over 44 years. It has given parents in the community a safe place for their children to learn and play.

Their small garden was in dire need of some TLC. And so, Lorrae Mannering, whose son attends the pre-school, approached the Foundation for help. And we were delighted to support Lorrae’s application.

We donated £650 to fund garden equipment and craft materials. Specifically the donation purchased fencing, a new roof for the playhouse, a pirate ship, a new drying rack, paints, easel, craft materials, toys, paint brushes, flower pots and plants. The pre-school used these to revitalise the garden to create a more exciting space for children.

“The donation from the Axis Foundation has been amazing and is really benefitting the children and will continue to do so for years to come. We’d all like to say a very big thank you from us and the children and an extra special thank you to Lorrae for helping to organise the funding” – Louise Leppenwell, Carmel Caterpillars

More About Carmel Caterpillars

Carmel Caterpillars believes that ‘Children learn through play’ and aims to ensure that the children who attend are free to choose from a range of activities that will help them to develop and learn. The pre-school operates within the local church hall and currently runs morning and afternoon sessions, each attended by around 30 children

 

 

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Group of gardeners at HeadwayCommunity

Headway

Therapeutic gardening helps people with brain injuries

The Axis Foundation has donated £350 to Headway SELNWK, a charity renowned for helping people with brain injuries.

Our donation buys a polytunnel, seeds, compost and garden tools so that members can grow their own fruit and vegetables and also create an outdoor space to show to visitors.

“Being out in the fresh air and gardening helps people to get more energised and the members are all very keen to show people around. It’s been a lovely contribution; it’s just made everything easier so having that contribution is very much appreciated. Your money is going a long way to Headway’s work helping people with brain injuries” – Andy Hirons, Fundraising and Development Co-ordinator

More About Headway

Because an injury to the brain can leave survivors and their carers feeling isolated and alone, Headway has made it their mission to alleviate this sense of isolation and provide a sense of calm and relaxation into a traumatic situation.

Gardening is known to be therapeutic for people with brain injuries. The gardening group at Headway’s Abbeywood Day Centre comprises eight members. All of them helped compile the shopping list of goodies – polytunnel, seeds, compost and garden tools – our donation purchased.

Headway’s work includes helping people with brain injuries to return to community living via social groups, creative projects and rehabilitation programmes in Bexley, Lewisham, Greenwich, Lambeth, Bromley, Southwark, Dartford, Gravesend and Medway.

 

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