Connect, Learn, Be Active, Notice, Give. The five principles of wellbeing that our chosen charity, The Cart Shed, teaches during their sessions.
We have always believed in the healing power of nature and the difference that spending time outdoors in the woods can make. Our founders Nic and George have found that while growing up here in Herefordshire, the woodland was a special place where they spent a lot of time learning about the different species of trees they came across along the way.
However, it was always about more than just the trees. It was somewhere they could meet to talk, walk and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It was a place of relaxation and reflection.
Their passion for woodlands and what they have to offer is one of the reasons why they are proud to be supporting a local Herefordshire charity, The Cart Shed.
The Cart Shed is based just outside of Weobley in north Herefordshire and was formed by a local farmer Patrick Wrixon. It offers people a safe space and the opportunity to learn, make friends and find a sense of belonging in a supportive and caring environment. The charity's main focus is on those with mental health issues as well as those who experience poor physical health, learning disabilities, other forms of social exclusion and Armed Forces Veterans who are struggling to integrate back into civilian life.
Back in early October our founder Nic went along to the Cart Shed open day and got to experience the difference the charity makes first hand.
"Wow, I was blown away by what I saw and completely inspired by the work being done by the team which is led by Chief Executive Katie Eastaugh, under the careful guidance of the Board of Trustees which is chaired by Patrick Wrixon. The team has numerous members of staff which include a clinical director and a senior occupational therapist along with a large team of volunteers who give their time tirelessly to support the cause.
Patrick never quite envisaged his arable farm becoming enveloped by this charity, but it has certainly changed his life and now with a new dedicated office and indoor facility by the farm buildings, most of the activities are based in one of Patrick’s woodlands where shelters and facilities have been built to support their work – no electricity, of course, just Certainly Wood firewood for warmth and cooking over.
Two things struck me on my visit. Firstly, the brief talk by Kate Lawes, the Senior Occupational Therapist, talked about their five principles of teaching people about wellbeing. They used the acronym CLANG.
C = Connect – all about connecting with people and their surroundings
L = Learn – the importance of learning new skills
A = Be Active – we all know the benefits of this
N = Notice – always being able to notice what is around you
G = Give – we all know how important it is to give
Secondly, the work being done in the woods, led by Ian Pearmain, Training Manager. We supply firewood to the charity so we discussed how we could improve on some of the larger pieces to make it a little easier for them to use, particularly in their smaller cookers. Whilst the larger pieces seemed to provide some difficulty when used as firewood, they seemed to also spark some imagination. Ian showed me one of the larger logs that someone had picked out as rather a special shape which was then turned into an even more interesting shape. I was amazed by how just a bizarre shaped wood can provide so much in terms of imagination and creativity, as well as healing.
We were so inspired by the setting of this charity, the wonderful work they do and the difference they make in so many people's lives. We will continue to help and support the Cart Shed as much as we possibly can, and our team will also spend time helping out with the willow harvest some basket weaving too!