A launch event was held on Wednesday 13th September from 10.00-12.00 at Hillcrest in Exminster to celebrate the launch of New Leaf. New Leaf is the umbrella name given to the vocational rehabilitation services provided on the site and gives a modern look to a modern service.
The services are:
Hillcrest Growers – a horticultural nursery
Hillcrest Branch – grounds maintenance work and employment
Wood Works – carpentry projects
New Leaf Café - supported training in a cafeteria environment.
The services offer therapy, training and employment opportunities for people living with mental health issues. They provide some of the benefits of a working life, such as social contact, a working identity, a sense of being useful and a structure to one's day, for people who are unable to cope with a more demanding environment and to help them in their recovery. They also offer the possibility of future employment and training opportunities.
As Don Crispin, Manager of New Leaf comments: "As well as launching the new look and name for the service, the launch event will give people the opportunity to have a tour of the site, meet staff and service users and get involved in demonstrations, such as planting, food tasting and carpentry. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will also conduct walks around the site as the hedges are homes to the cirl bunting – an endangered species of bird whose numbers have risen considerably since a new network of hedges has been planted over the last few years."
The day ended with a live interview on John Coates’ show on BBC Radio Devon. Staff will talk about what they do in providing a socially-inclusive and modern service and service users will share their experiences of the service and how, for some, it has led to employment and supported their journey to recovery.
An information leaflet about New Leaf may be found here.