SAGE Greenfingers: My Family
SAGE Greenfingers is a local charity that supports adults with mental health problems through creative therapeutic activities such as gardening, crafts and singing. Here Kal, a member of SAGE’s Greenfingers gardening group shares his story of how the group has aided his recovery.
I came to Sheffield in 2010 and spent my first year here just staying indoors. I didn’t know a lot of people and I became very isolated. I was referred to SAGE and I have been so happy ever since to be able to come and get outdoors.
Since coming to Greenfingers I have gained a lot of confidence. Before I wasn’t able to talk to other people, especially people I had never met before and so coming here has given me the ability to talk to people and make friends. I now have the ability to have a one to one conversation which I never had before.
Just getting out of my house and to the group was a challenge I had to overcome before I joined Greenfingers, I was nervous about meeting new people but it’s easy for me to come here now, it’s what I look forward to.
I started off coming to the Tuesday group but didn’t click with the people there, fortunately SAGE was flexible enough for me to change to the Thursday group where I found some great friends. I think it is extremely important who is in your group and that you bond with them as they are also part of the process that helps you improve mentally and physically.
I love coming here; the people I have met at the group are part of my family now. The most enjoyable part about coming to SAGE Greenfingers is that I get to see my family and have a cup of tea and a good conversation.
Coming to the group also helps me to sleep. The exercise I get at the allotment gets my body warm and allows me to go home and sleep. I don’t sleep very well most nights but always do on a Thursday night after the group.
Coming to the group has allowed me to get outdoors more and inspired me to take on my own gardening projects. I have now taken on my own allotment plot on the Grimesthorpe allotment site which has been really exciting. It means I get out of the house more often and can grow lots of my own food.
In 5 years’ time, I would love to still be coming to Greenfingers every Thursday to still see all the friends I have made. I would also like to be growing strawberries on my plot and be growing different foods in the poly-tunnel I am currently erecting. One of my other aspirations for the future is to work as a gardener for Sheffield City Council.
Coming to Greenfingers has allowed me to gain confidence, find my love for gardening and have aspirations for the future. I love coming here. I call these people my family.