An event was held at the Olive Tree Cafe to reflect and discuss the charity's past achievements and plans for the future.
The Recovery Tree Charity covers the Twigs Community Gardens project, The Olive Tree Cafe, and Pinecones at Pinehurst Community centre.
Several main funders of the charity were in attendance. There were representatives from Swindon's mental health and wellbeing centre - IPSUM, Voluntary Action Swindon, The Harbour Project, The Olive Tree Café, and The Rotary Club of Swindon North and Thamesdown.
Manager of the Olive Tree Cafe, Phyllida Richards and her team, supplied a wide selection of cakes and treats for the tables.
MP Justin Tomlinson, Mayor of Swindon Garry Perkins and Wiltshire’s High Sheriff, Sir Charles Hobhouse were also in attendance.
Trustee of the Recovery Tree Charity, Dick Millard and Jol Rose from Voluntary Action Swindon started the proceedings with speeches on the importance of mental health and how The Recovery Tree projects help people within Swindon’s community.
Dick Millard said: “At The Recovery Tree Charity, we are getting back into our stride as covid – hopefully – starts to recede. While lockdowns were at their peak, we had to stop doing some of our things from time to time, and adapt others.
“As we tried to continue supporting vulnerable people in and around Swindon, we in turn were supported by a wide variety of generous funders. Some are represented here today, and I would like to say thank you to you all for that lifeline which has not only allowed us to merely keep going but also provided a very helpful window of financial stability.”
117 people received support for their mental health and wellbeing through The Recovery Tree Charity projects between 2020 - 2021.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “I have been a long-standing supporter of these charities both as a customer and in the capacity of helping to secure grants for their long-term future. I am absolutely thrilled to see this next chapter.
“There is a real buzz and excitement and it’s a testament to the great work of the teams of volunteers. So many members of our local community have benefitted from the services and events that are provided by The Recovery Tree Charity projects and this is a very proud day for everybody.”
After the speeches, those in attendance were invited to take a leisurely tour of the TWIGS community gardens to see what volunteers have been working on.
Wiltshire's High Sheriff, Sir Charles Hobhouse was amongst the party touring the gardens.
He said: "What I like about TWIGS and the Olive Tree Café, is the way they combine two different elements together. It really works that you have the volunteer community section within the café and then you have the nature section running alongside it.
“What has been good within the last 18 months, is that although people have struggled, small charities like this have held the local communities together.”
Trustee Dick Millard also detailed The Recovery Tree Charity's future plans for the future. He said the charity has aims of:
- Expanding its craft offer to reach more people in more places.
- Setting up a bereavement garden and running bereavement support groups for adults experiencing grief.
- Setting up an inclusive Rainbow Garden, designed to be a stunning physical symbol of the charity's commitments to supporting diversity of all kinds.
- Setting up a Young Person's Nature Group to offer green activities to support the mental health of younger people.
A cheque of £750 was awarded to The Recovery Tree Charity by Kathy Hobson, President of the Rotary Club of Swindon North & Thamesdown. She said it would please her greatly to see the funds go towards one of these new projects that Dick had mentioned.
Another organisation working with The Recovery Tree Charity is Swindon's Harbour Project. CEO Claire Garrett attended the celebratory event to show her support.
She said: “I think The Recovery Tree projects are such a wonderful venture in the middle of Swindon and such an asset that we need to make more of. The projects serve so many different communities in lots of different ways. It’s great to see all these different charitable sectors working as one.
“In order to meet the needs of individual beneficiary groups, organisations need to work with one another, and that is what this event has been about celebrating.”
More information on The Recovery Tree Charity can be found at https://www.therecoverytreecharity.org.uk