Buddy Programme

Free Buddy Training At Forest Farm Peace Garden – March 2017!

FFPG is looking for new buddy volunteers!

We offer 2 days free training focused on: permaculture, mental health and practical organic horticulture skills. Being a buddy is an opportunity to gain skills and hands on experience in support work, therapeutic gardening PLUS successful buddy trainees can receive free follow-up training in relevant areas.

Our Ecotherapy Programme is structured for clients with low-level mental health needs such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Buddies can make a huge impact to their wellbeing by helping to make their garden a safe and welcoming space for all; helping with running practical activities and being available to those who need extra guidance.

The training will be taking place on two Fridays: the 17th and 24th March 2017.

The first date will take place at Redbridge Central Library, York Room (Clements Rd, Ilford, IG1 1EA) from 10:00am to 4:00pm. On that day we will introduce you to the project and many of the specific issues we work with – ecotherapy, mental health, learning disabilities, etc.

The second Friday will happen at the garden in Hainault (FFPG site at Forest Farm Allotments, end of Hazelbrouck Rd, Hainault, IG6 2XL) covering introductions to permaculture and organic food growing as well as site safety and tool maintenance.

Potential buddies are very welcome to visit the project on our open morning “Permaculture and People-Care” in the garden on Wednesday the 8th March from 11am to 1pm. More info about the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/243293762782491/

If you would like to take part in the training please complete the application form (download 2017buddyapplicationformffpg ) and send it back to:

Fran Reeves

Email: info@forestfarmpeacegarden.org

Tel: 020 8477 1655 (Answer phone)

Please feel free to contact Fran if you have any queries about the training.


Being outside – whether you are doing an activity or just relaxing, spending time alone or with other people – can have a fantastic positive impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. Research increasingly shows that even short periods of time spent outdoors can have substantial benefits for mental health. Our clients at Forest Farm Peace Garden consistently report that their time in the Garden improves their health and mood.

The Buddy Programme

At the heart of the Ecotherapy Programme at Forest Farm Peace Garden is the Buddy Programme.

Our Ecotherapy is a structured programme that lasts 9 months and is tailored toward those with low-level mental health needs, predominantly those with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.  They set goals for themselves at the beginning of the programme, which they would like to achieve by the end and have regular review sessions with our Ecotherapy Worker.

The Buddy Programme runs every Wednesday and Friday, and clients attend either a morning session (11AM – 1PM) or an afternoon session (2PM -4PM). At the garden, clients work in small groups of three or four, together with a Buddy who has been trained to provide support.  Each week a different group takes it in turns to be responsible for food and drinks – gathering vegetables and herbs from the garden to make soups, salad and tea. The project gives all a chance to learn more about healthy living, cooking and nutrition, as well as gardening. Both our clients and Buddies benefit from making new friends, sharing experiences, learning skills and being active outdoors together.

Here is what some of our supporters have said about the project:

“Forest Farm Peace Garden provides exemplary support to mental health service users. They integrate vulnerable people into a supportive community, and adequately equip their volunteers with a skillset suited to working with mental health service users. I am confident that the service users we refer to Forest Farm Peace Garden will receive the individualised support they need and will be actively engaged in the volunteer-driven and service-user focused ethos of the organisation.”

(Redbridge Concern for Mental Health)

If you are interested in helping out on this project, keep reading and please get in touch!  We always need Buddies to provide support, as this is a popular programme.

To find out more about how being outdoors is good for you, and to learn about other eco therapy projects, check out the EcoMinds website. The Buddy Programme was first funded by the “EcoMinds: feel better inside, feel better outside” campaign of Mind mental health charity.

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