Healing people through the environment

The Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Leeds works to enhance habitats but like a number of TCV groups they also enhance the well being of people. A number of the staff have a background in the health profession and people are referred to them for therapeutic reasons. I’d come accross the Green Gym idea years ago at TCV where participants keep fit by doing practical work, however in Leeds it goes much further. Due to the interests and care of the staff, they are supporting people with serious health problems who are referred by health and social workers. The success stories are many but include literally saving people from ending their lives. The huge society benefit and social care that this group is providing is hidden underneath the label of ‘environmental conservation’. The health of our environment and ourselves are intricately linked. To have a habitable planet we must also pursue social justice. To have social justice we must protect the life around us. The lines blur everywhere I look as it does not make sense to divide and separate our aims. We want a healthy future, for all of us. My gratitude and respect go out to all the wonderful people working so hard to bring it about.

The diploma is an incredible way to help people turn their lives around and is free to people who are unemployed and over 19. It’s one more way that people have found to retrain, to change their livesĀ  and to follow their heart.


Seeding change in Bradford

Walking in to Bradford was a shock to the system after the beautiful countryside. Many areas suffer deprivation and there were empty shops all over the place except for in the city center. The Transition group in Bradford no longer operates, as they found the city too big for the Transition model. But what happened instead was that the group seeded other wonderful initiatives. I’ve come across this in a few different cities now that groups come together for a purpose and even if the original group closes down it starts off other groups with related aims. The important thing seems to be coming together and trying to make a change. No effort is wasted. Like a wave that washes up and then recedes, the energy of it’s passing changes the land beneath it.

Horton Community Farm is one fantastic example of this. Through the work of local residents over five years, a derelict allotment site that was attracting crime has become a community farm.