Mental health patients of a GP surgery in South Shropshire have helped make new community planters to improve the building. The planters were made by people with depression, anxiety and other issues and have been put outside the surgery in Station Road, Ludlow.
The craftsmen and women were referred by MIND or GPs to the carpentry workshop, run by Social Enterprise Mark holder The Furniture Scheme in Lower Galdeford.
Dr Caron Morton, PR partner at the practice said the whole project has been a huge success. She said: “We wanted to do something different, we wanted to see if it could be made by local people, preferably by our patients. People can drive or walk past and say ‘I helped to make that.”
“It is about community and GP practices supporting local people, it has been great to work with The Furniture Scheme and I hope it starts other businesses thinking about what they can do to get involved in the community.”
The planters contain herbs such as lavender, hot and spicy oregano, thyme, marjoram, strawberry mint, french tarragon, sage and rosemary. Dr Morton said this was to help people learn more about what goes into their food and encourage young people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The doctors will be providing scissors for young people to take a cutting and use at home and plan to install a bench, working towards a sensory garden. The planters are so large they had to be dismantled at the workshop and then rebuilt outside the surgery.
Stefan Laird, Carpentry Workshop Supervisor, helped to guide the patients through the build and said it was a good project. He said: “One person needed to be shown where to go and wouldn’t go into the workshop on their own at first. But after four weeks they got a job. It has been great to share my skills with a new set of people once again.”
The Furniture Scheme was launched over 20 years ago as a way to ensure some of the most excluded members of the community could benefit from recycled household items. It now runs Rockspring Community Centre in Sandford Road, Ludlow, and the Craven Arms Community Centre in Newington Way, Craven Arms. Activities include computer courses, carpentry workshops, volunteering in the garden, a holiday scheme for young people, weekly community lunches and a choir.
The planters project was funded by Bupa, and Jean Jarvis MBE, Chief Executive of The Furniture Scheme, said working with people with mental health challenges is a large part of what they do. “People get referred to us through doctors and agencies but can self refer too. You could just walk in to one of our centres and we will do what we can to help.
“Our members are taught skills and through this they gain confidence and self esteem and can lead fuller lives. This is just one of a number of community projects we have done, in the past we have created planters for Ludlow in Bloom, provided new furniture for local pubs as well as restore their furniture already there and we have done work with Ludlow College for five years, upcycling furniture with design students.”
Visit www.furniturescheme.co.uk or call 01584 874922 for more information about the charity.