September 2020 | Courtney Conway
Despite six months of the pandemic and the challenges this has posed, we have sustained our strong relationships and ties with our local communities and continued to creatively engage with our participants. We’ve met and caught up with some of the team, continued harvesting away at Gipton Growers, distributed our usual bi-weekly wellbeing packs and our postcards have still been flying in – it’s fantastic to see arts and creativity still flourishing despite the current climate.
Although restrictions have been in place, we’ve still managed to enjoy some sunshine here in East Leeds, brightening up our local garden over at the Space2 office and The Old Fire Station community café. This has helped with the array of fresh fruit and vegetables cultivated by our very own Gipton Growers. As restrictions have eased, the team have been coming along to the garden to look everything from blackberries and blueberries to carrots and cabbages and everything inbetween. Gardening such as this and the cultivation of green spaces has been proven to help with mental wellbeing, giving a sense of satisfaction, achievement and pride. It’s also a great chance for the growers to spend time together, increasing social connections in East Leeds. On Tuesday 15th September the team took to Facebook Live in glorious sunshine to film how the garden had been growing, what the group had been getting up to and of course have a chat with our viewers. This was also a great chance for those who are still remaining at home during this time to see one of our friendly, community-led groups in action.
We were also delighted with our successful lavender harvest – coming back around again this year after our herbal pop up with our gardening group Fork to Fork last year. Although we weren’t able to have an event this year, it was still a joy to harvest. Lavender is a potent perennial herb that’s been a staple of apothecary gardens since the Roman era. Lavender also has an array of uses: its soothing and sedating properties can help calm anxiety; its antibacterial elements make it fantastic for cuts and sores; and its potency means it can be great for a homemade perfume or delicious used in cooking, giving sugars and shortbreads that extra kick!
Once dry our lavender will be used for activities in our Fork to Fork group as a sustainable home-grown resource.
Elsewhere, we had a visit from long-running Space2 participant and friend Julie Jones – at a safe distance of course. In our build up the Space2Sing choirs relaunch Julie popped in to have a chat about the choir and how her weekly sing has helped her over lockdown. It was great to hear how, despite a different format, our groups have still been a great chance to relax, socialise and gain confidence. Despite lockdown and half a year of stringent social distancing measures we made it a priority to sustain our long-established relationships with participants, so it was fantastic to catch up and hear how Julie and her family have been keeping over lockdown.
We’re looking forward to recommencing groups in the near future and continuing to keep creativity and social connecting at the heart of our work.
With very best wishes
The Space2 Team