About this cause
Muddy Fork is a newly formed charity (replacing the Ecominds project which closed in July 2016) providing social and therapeutic horticulture for people with mental health problems. It is based at the Idle Valley nature reserve, owned by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) and at the Babworth estate, Nottinghamshire. Mental health needs of participants often co-exist with social isolation. Individualised aims and goals are set with regular reviews and evaluations. Participants work in groups in a non-clinical setting doing valued horticultural and conservation tasks outdoors. They report improvements in mental and physical health, well-being, motivation, self-efficacy and socialisation with consequent reduction in NHS use. Some progress to volunteer for NWT, others to employment.
How this cause brings people in the community together
Mental health problems are common with around 243 referrals per month in Bassetlaw to psychological treatments. The Kings Fund (2016) reported gardening based interventions are particularly effective for common mental health conditions. Referrals are from primary and secondary care health care providers. After a taster session, participants have a baseline evaluation of mental health. Their aims and goals are met through group horticultural activities. Sessions are weekly with group size around 12. Produce is used in the café. Local people with mental health problems are the attendees. Attendance helps restore wellbeing, physical and mental health and social confidence. Each session is facilitated by an employed project leader and two helper volunteers. There are regular evaluations.