Sadness at closure of popular project

An award-winning recovery project for people who suffer from mental health issues in Bassetlaw has been axed due to lack of funding.

The project saw volunteers with mental health problems build confidence by helping to maintain the vegetable garden at Idle Valley Nature Reserve, providing the park’s cafe with fresh fruit and vegetables.

News of the project’s closure has been met with sadness from its volunteers, including John O’Shea who said: “ It feels like I’m losing a family member- it’s really upsetting.”

Michelle Farmer added: “The Idle Valley Recovery Project was a special place people could find solace, respite, purpose, escape, a supportive network and yourself.”

But Recovery Project leader, Dominic Schad, said he was determined to “look to the future” and had hopes to launch an independent charity dedicated to maintaining the vegetable garden.

He said: We’ve helped so many people in their personal journeys- sometimes to education, sometimes to employment, or just generally to improved mental and physical health.

“Recovery’s not been without its shortcomings and its Achilles’ heel has always been its short-term funding.

“But I’m determined to not allow all those achievements to be thrown away, and plan to start an little independent charity with big ambition.

“We already have in place the basis of a fantastic and dedicated team willing to take the new project forward with the support of the Wildlife Trust.”

To mark the end of the project, a celebration is planned in the garden on Wednesday, July 20 from 11am for volunteers past and present.