Celebrities such as Chris Tarrant, Bournemouth FC legend Steve Fletcher, Mark Williams (Founding Director and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre) and renowned poet and TV and Film Producer, Henry Normal have thrown their support behind a new art project called ‘Flourish Flock’ in support of Flourish, a horticultural therapy project here at Livability Holton Lee.

‘Flourish’ is an eco-therapy service where disabled people and those living with mental health illness participate in horticulture and conservation, arts and crafts. People learn new skills, build confidence, make new friends and have fun. People arrive at the centre with different needs, arising from mental health challenges and a wide range of disabilities – but feeling isolated is often a common theme.

The recent Flourish Flock project has been developed to raise funds for the vital work that happens at the centre. Over the last few months local community groups in Dorset have been decorating wooden templates of the Dartford Warbler bird, a rare bird found at the Livability Holton Lee site. The initiative has seen the whole community join together, from local charities, disability groups, and many local renowned artists. Birds have also been decorated by the people supported by Livability services in the area, including Livability Spinal Injury Unit and students from Livability Victoria Education Centre.

The difference Flourish makes

With 97% of people who attend Flourish reporting an increase in social networks and a decrease in social isolation, Livability’s Flourish project is a standout service with local referring agencies.

Livability Flourish Manager Emma Browning says: “Flourish’s culture of acceptance and building to people’s strengths is key. When people arrive, I can see in their face that first morning that they’re questioning where they will fit in. Then you can see it dawning on them that there is no need to ‘fit in’, no clique, because everyone fits in. Everybody is open and welcoming to new people. They take an interest in them as a person – they talk about what TV they’ve watched, what football team they support. Conversations and friendships just start.”

Flourish Flock Gallery

The unique and fabulously decorated birds have now made their way back to Livability Holton Lee where they will be on display in Faith House during Purbeck Arts Week which runs from 26th May to 10th June and also at the prestigious Russell Cotes Museum from 31st July to 5th August.

Public Auction

The public will have the chance to bid on each of the birds online while they are on display and the project will culminate in a final celebration event, being held at The Russell Cotes Museum on 4th August; kindly sponsored by local business Perenco UK. Details on how to bid on the birds will be released on to the Facebook page ‘Flourish Flock Auction’ during May.

All money raised from the Flourish Flock art project will go towards funding the building of a large community workspace at the Livability Holton Lee site.

Thanks to all our supporters who have kindly designed Flourish Flock birds:

  • Southampton football club
  • Henry Normal renowned poet – (best known for co-writing The Royle family and producing Gavin and Stacey and the film Philomena)
  • Mark Williams – Founding Director and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre
  • Elvis McGonagall poet
  • Timothy Walton west end actor

Read more about our Flourish project

About the Author Andrew

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