When the Covid-19 crisis hit we opened up Bentley Urban Farm so that community groups, schools, artists and individuals could in a safe, socially distanced, outdoor environment. The engagement has been amazing and incredibly diverse. Apart from the food growing and ecology which we focused on we when we started, the site now regularly hosts art, music, therapy, bike repair, yoga, and even archery. The one thing which unites them is the feeling of physical and emotional well-being everyone feels working and creating in our unique environment. Our 'Academy Of Being' will build on this by offering new taster sessions in an even more diverse range of activities, each one designed to encourage greater mental and physical well-being. What is more we will do so in a way which allows people to choose what activities we focus on at future events. The main focus is getting people in our communities to try something new in a safe environment. The worse kind of regrets are the things you don't do.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
The project is designed to combat the social isolation and other physical and mental issues associated with CV-19 lockdown. We already have a number of visitors to Bentley Urban Farm who are there simply to enjoy a safe, outdoor environment so that they can de-stress and feel less anxious. Often there will be other activities taking place which grab their interest when they visit. We want to formalise this by giving people a diverse number of reasons for visiting so that they're also exposed to a diverse range of activities which they may not previously thought about trying. The mental health benefits, both of being outdoors in a natural environment and of the social interaction of meeting new people, are both immense and immediate. We see a near instant change in people when they visit. We also get the opportunity to further our initial goals around introducing people to fresh, healthy, local food; teaching people how to grow; and improving ecological literacy in our communities.
Steps to get it done:
The project is designed to be self-directing. After the initial taster days we want the people of Doncaster to tell us what they'd like to try next. This creates a fluid, ever-changing project, but one which is guaranteed to keep people hooked.
About the space
Bentley Urban Farm
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
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