[Photo above – courtesy of space2grow]
The joy of the title here is that it’s so appropriate, because today a seed was sown that I hope will grow into the very first “drop-in and draw” space, in a very special and beautiful community garden.
In fact, in a beautifully, brightly decorated, cosy and friendly and lovely wooden pavilion, within a very special and beautiful community garden.
Space2Grow is a community garden in the Surrey town of Farnham, set up two years ago, and flourishing. If you click on their name above you can find out more about them on their website, where they say:
“space2grow aims to improve the mental health of allsorts of people living in the local area by offering them the opportunity to connect with others in the great outdoors, through horticulture, conservation and conversation.“
“We run regular sessions every Wednesday where we provide a calm gardening space for those who are perhaps feeling a little isolated or want to have a quiet conversation whilst gardening in the company of others or who are perhaps going through recovery from personal trauma or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.“
Their aims and values are very akin to mine – to get people doing something together, creating, quietly having fun, forgetting their problems for a while; and most importantly in both cases: free of charge, so open to all. They’re using gardening, I’m using drawing, but we’re very much on the same page.
Between us today, we came up with the idea of setting up an occasional drop in and draw space for the regular users of the garden. As I’ve said it’s a beautiful space even on a grey, chill, drizzly day like today, and will provide a wonderful source of things to draw, especially when the spring and summer brings forth colour and volume. Giving the gardeners the opportunity to look even more closely at the surroundings and the fruits of their labour in order to draw them, can provide a wonderful opportunity to enhance their enjoyment of the place even more.
This very slight tweaking of the idea away from it being completely publicly accessible, has given me pause for thought. There is no reason at all not to be encouraging the setting up of drop-in and draw spaces within other places that ‘belong’, as it were, to a specific group of people. So long as the drawing space is open to everyone within that group, at no charge – in other words, so long as it maintains its ‘drop-in’ format – why not encourage setting them up within companies, or schools and colleges, hospitals even, sheltered housing, there are so many possibilities.
The essence of the idea is that it uses a space that is already there, and that it costs, ideally, nothing to provide, simply because the space is just a small part of something that’s already in use. Just a little encouragement, a few ideas to suit the setting perhaps, and a little work to get it all going.
A few more seeds to be planted, and the idea begins to grow.