About our project

Nurturing and tending to an allotment is an extremely social and therapeutic process. Working with green, freshly cut, unseasoned wood outdoors – the traditional way – is a slow, creative, and connected way to make things. Using your hands to create and nurture has so many positive health benefits, both physical and mental.

At YMCA Exeter, we are curating spaces to grow and make. This is often a communal process but has huge individual benefits. Our gardens and woodwork sessions provide young people with the mental space to reflect and learn about themselves, build a peer-based supportive and positive community, and greatly improve their physical health, general wellbeing and mental health. We find that young people are much more likely to open up about themselves when working alongside their mentor and peers in this way, rather than in a formal desk-based mentoring session.

Our impact

Our Therapeutic Horticulture and Green Woodwork project is helping to:

  • address inequalities,
  • improve health and wellbeing,
  • get people active,
  • encourage volunteering,
  • improve where we live.

Take resident Max for example. He’s been involved with building our new garden cabin through funding received from our local Rotary Club and The Finnis Scott Foundation. Max says:

“It’s been great working with Sam in the garden. I’m trying to get back into work and helping in the garden is teaching me new skills. Being outside in nature is also good for the mood and good for health.”

Our Forest School Space has been kindly funded by The National Lottery (Awards4All), the South West Trust Fund and the Exeter Chiefs Foundation.

Get involved

To get involved in our Therapeutic Horticulture and Green Woodwork project, get in touch via our Contact page.

You can also use the links below to find out more about some of the fantastic local organisations already involved in our project: