Latest News Grow Together! with Inclusion Matters The Inclusion Matters Western trust, Southern sector was successful with a small grant from Food for Life, Get Togethers. They used this grant to run a course from the 1st October - 17th December. The impact of Covid-19 meant that the groups and activities service users would have usually availed of were greatly reduced. This funding helped to provide a social outlet for our service users whilst developing their gardening and cooking skills. We provided our service users, all of whom live alone and are at risk of social isolation, with the opportunity to grow their own herbs, to mix socially, and to learn new skills. We provided each participant with a gardening starter pack with all the essentials they needed to take part,eg pots, tools, soil and seeds. "I got to learn lots about growing herbs and the different uses for herbs. I surprised myself at how well they grew." We created a WhatsApp group to provide them with instructions and advice on how to plant the seeds, care for them, and to discuss healthy eating. One of our project workers also grew her own so she could share pictures with the service users to demonstrate first hand. Practical sessions were incorporated with advice on the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet and how this impacts our mental health and wellbeing. The aim at the end of the practical sessions was to use the homegrown ingredients to make a healthy meal. This was done via Zoom call and the service users followed along with each other. Positive outcomes this group achieved include: practical gardening and cooking skills awareness of the benefits of healthy eating a sense of accomplishment and independence meeting new people to help combat social isolation developing knowledge of social and online learning platforms Service User feedback "Getting the opportunity to grow at home under guidance has been fantastic, but to actually see your seeds grow in to real herbs was something else. Plus I got to use the herbs in food; adding basil to tomato soup, adding cress to potato salad and freezing the rest for future use. brilliant idea" "I had great fun planting and growing the herbs. It was a distraction from Covid""Thank you for the ingredients to cook with." Further information:InclUSion Matters currently operates within the South Eastern HSCT, Belfast HSCT and Western HSCT areas for individuals aged 18 - 64, and in Northern HSCT for individuals aged 18+, who have a disability, Autism and Brain Injury*Referrals to the service are made through an agreed referral pathway from local HSCT Social Workers or Community Brain Injury Teams*The criteria for admission and length of service is dependent upon the contracts we hold in these areas.