Project: Apricot Centre

Helping young people affected by the impact of leaving care

The Apricot Centre runs a diverse farm and well-being service, recognising the important link between the well-being of the soil, food and habitat, and the mental and physical health of the people in and around it. With support from the Foundation, it will deliver a nature well-being project that aims to help young people affected by mental health issues due to the impact of leaving care.

The Apricot Centre is a social enterprise and farm based at Huxham’s Cross in South Devon, growing a wide range of Biodynamic and Organic produce. On the farm, the team runs a well-being service, providing therapeutic support for families and children, using the farm and nature as a co-therapist. The centre offers a rich experience for children and their families, providing mentoring for young people with specific needs such as special education, behaviour or mental health.

The ‘Root to Rise’ project seeks to help young people affected by the impact of leaving care, whether that is foster care, adoption placements that have broken down, or children’s homes. There is currently a gap in services for young people transitioning from care into independent adult living. These young people often slip through the net and can find themselves isolated or turning to addiction, negative thoughts and tendencies, or are unable to move forward in their lives because of their traumatic childhood.

Root to Rise is an intensive two-day course using sustainable development and therapeutically underpinned nature-based activities to playfully explore the practical and emotional resources required to navigate such transitions. Through the project, young people are actively encouraged to reconnect with nature, find their voice and become a part of a community of like-minded young people. Whilst helping to improve physical, emotional and mental health, the project combines well-being activities and therapeutic support in a nature-based setting.

During the two days there are opportunities to try out:

  • Sustainable development and nature-based skills, and discover how nature can be the greatest ‘life’ teacher.

  • A safe place to reflect privately or openly how these new skills and/or ‘nature’s lessons’ relate to personal life experiences.

  • An opportunity to explore how these ‘life’ lessons and individual reflections can be applied outside of the project.

Whilst the project will provide an intensive two-day course, the team will also use this as an opportunity to engage young people in other services they require, as many young people identified would benefit from regular group or individual therapy. The project aims to be the springboard for young people into accessing support as an adult and making positive steps forward in their lives.

… Really good that we can have the opportunity to share our experience and improve things for other young people leaving care – liked being given the opportunity to make something out of wood and use the tools.

Thomas (looked after young person – living independently)

Trying out nature-based activities
Trying out nature-based activities
Trying out nature-based activities
Trying out nature-based activities