August 3, 2018
The Cabin Crew behind Dutch Barn
Towards the end of last year we were excited to receive a one-off grant from Liverpool City Council’s Pioneer Fund for a brand new wellbeing space at our urban farm, Dutch Farm, in South Liverpool.
The guys over at our Making Days South service have already established a beautiful green space there, with allotments, flower beds galore, polytunnels and even a fairy garden – just the perfect leafy-green environment for a lovely new space for our Wellbeing Centres, where everyone can get closer to nature. And so, Dutch Barn was born – an exciting new wellbeing project.
We wanted the people who use our Wellbeing Centres service to drive this project and be there every step of the way, so we needed to get a team together. We advertised across our centres for people who would like to form a steering group of seven people and two staff.
Sure enough, people came forward to help and the very cleverly-named Cabin Crew was formed.
The Cabin Crew met very regularly, often once a week, to decide on the size, shape and style of the building, how many windows it should have and how it would fit best into the area of the Dutch Farm site we were to use.
Once the building works were underway, the group continued to review the work being done with their comments, concerns and amendments being fed back to the company doing the building.
Together we decided a style for the interior décor and specific items and colours, all designed to uplift everyone who visits.
Tracy, a practitioner at our Wellbeing Centres who has overseen the project, says: ‘The great advantage of gathering people together is that they bring with them lifetimes of experience and skills which they are very willing to share.
Co-production is a very useful tool in our service. By giving people an opportunity to contribute and valuing their input, we all benefit. Being part of a group and giving your time to a cause has been proven to improve wellbeing. There are the added benefits here of improved confidence and self-esteem particularly as people are actively encouraged to voice their opinions.’
Here’s what some of the Cabin Crew had to say:
‘From a personal perspective, the time spent on the Cabin Crew steering group has been both fun and satisfying. To be part of a group that is delivering a space for the planned activities is such a positive. It has been a pleasure to help in a small way to deliver this for future use in the community. This has led to a positive mind-set for the most part for me, and attending has helped with some anxiety issues which is always a good thing. I’m sure users of the space will fully appreciate the building and location which again is a positive boost for me.’
‘I found it an interesting experience and to meet others with interests in different areas. I have experience in project work and it was a fairly normal pattern, and worked out generally well. There were a few stumbling blocks, notably in dealing with the contractors, which is not unusual in such projects but on the whole less of them than I expected.
It did all turn out well, and we have a pleasant workspace.’
‘I have enjoyed being part of the steering group. I’ve met new people from other centres and felt part of a group. I’ve also enjoyed watching the barn come together right from beginning and having my say about the decor of the barn. I do hope to stay on the steering group it has helped me getting out of the house, even going shopping to get ideas. It has come together and I’m attending an anxiety group there at the moment. It is a quiet and relaxing atmosphere and I’m hoping to do a lot more at Dutch Barn. Looking forward to the launch.’
We’re looking forward to formerly launching our Dutch Barn on 23 August and to establishing a full programme of activities which will continue to be skillfully steered by The Cabin Crew. We’re very grateful for their input. Long may it continue.