The speaker at the first meeting of East Markham WI’s 2019-20 session was Dominic Schad from Muddy Fork, the Retford based charity providing gardening therapy, for those with a wide range of mental health problems. Dominic tested members’ knowledge of mental health and its effect on sufferers and the wider community with a quiz. Some of the answers were surprising, with the majority of the group getting no more than half marks.
The charity is based at Idle Valley Nature Reserve where it has a large garden, where fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown as well as having beehives and taking part in schemes to grow native trees. The produce from the garden and the beehives is sold to the cafe at the reserve and to other outlets wanting locally grown produce. During the winter months, willow is gathered and woven into baskets and garden structures, which are sold to raise funds. A slide show showed many of the activities of those attending and of their work in the garden and around the reserve.
Dominic is the only employee of the charity, which relies heavily on its dedicated team of volunteers and supporters and its board of trustees, to provide support on two days a week, to those on its books. Funding comes from grants sourced from a wide range of organisations and donations from individuals and local organisations, it is not funded by the NHS. All support provided by Muddy Fork is free to those attending. Referrals come from GPs, social workers, local organisations and self referral, and cover the wide range of mental heath diagnoses.
Mental health problems account for 26% of all health problems in the UK — more than cancer and heart problems individually, which account for 16% each. Research shows that gardening activities can have a beneficial effect on a person’s state of mind and help them to reconnect with family, friends and society. During the refreshment break, a short film was shown in which those attending talked of the benefits they gained from being part of Muddy Fork.
This was a very interesting and thought provoking talk which gave a great insight into what can be done to help those suffering with mental health problems. Muddy Fork welcomes new volunteers and supporters, if interested contact Dominic on 07421 356717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Markham WI’s July meeting is on Tuesday 16th, at 7.15pm and the subject is ‘Colours of Bangladesh’ with Angela Tubb. They welcome new members and visitors to any of their meetings, why not go along and see what they have to offer. The WI — Inspiring Women. Contact Jenny on 01777 871706 or Marie on 01777 871567.