Like any other seed we came from another plant. In the late 1990s Pitsmoor Surgery commissioned a needs assessment, which confirmed a high incidence of mental health problems in the area and a low uptake of available services. So they decided to set up a project that had a non-clinical and non-threatening feel but would still give focused, professional support.
SAGE was established in 1999 as a small voluntary gardening group providing therapeutic horticultural activities. We took on allotments and began creating a safe and engaging space where people could grow and develop.
In 2006, we became a Registered Charity and Company Limited by guarantee and we started offering various sorts of creative therapy including arts and crafts, singing, cook and eat sessions, fishing etc. SAGE was offering long term, non-time limited support and was very lucky to receive extensive lottery funding that allowed us to employ a full staff, supplemented by allotment volunteers and students.
We extended into more arts activities, launching a very successful singing group who have put on performance sin the cathedral and beyond. We took our supported gardeners and artists on day trips, held theatre and pottery classes, created structures and built up a haven in the city.
Unfortunately the high levels of funding we received could not be maintained forever and our former mission of time unlimited support had to be revised. In 2019 we closed briefly and relaunched with a very modest staff. Our new approach is to be a transformative service, using a transformative approach we aim to support our gardeners, singers and artists to reach a healthy place in their recovery journey where they are able to engage with wider community activities and build stronger support networks. We still use creative and horticultural therapy