Sharpham Volunteers recognised in Awards schemes
Two volunteers from The Sharpham Trust, near Totnes in South Devon, were recently shortlisted as finalists against stiff opposition in two separate award schemes, the Marsh Award and Learning Against the Odds Award.
The national Marsh Award, a collaboration between the Heritage Crafts Association and the Marsh Christian Trust, recognises and celebrates the exceptional individuals that contribute so much to our rich living heritage.
Learning Against the Odds, awarded by the Torbay Development Agency, recognises outstanding examples of learning achievement by individuals facing difficult or adverse circumstances.
Stuart Murdoch, a long term volunteer working with the Sharpham Outdoors team, was shortlisted for the Marsh Award. Stuart is a highly regarded and valued member of the team and works as a mental health distress (MHD) mentor. The Ecominds project he is involved in recognises the positive benefits that spending time outdoors has for people’s mental health. This photo shows Stuart Murdoch picking up his Marsh Award award in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Stuart, through dealing with his own issues of anxiety, stress and depression has been able to share his experiences with other young people to help them through their trauma. He is also an excellent craftsman, specialising in green wood work, and used this as a tool to engage with the young people, and pass on his skills to a younger audience.
Jack Skuse, Sharpham Outdoors manager said, “We are delighted that Stuart has been recognised in this way for his efforts on the Spring to Life Project. It is a highly prestigious award against some of the country’s most gifted crafts people, and he fully deserves it. He came to the project 18 months ago, having had a really tough time of it, and has been a huge asset to us at Sharpham. He is really talented, and has a great way with the participants on the project, always giving them time and passing on his skill and knowledge of green wood working.”
“The team at Sharpham have made a huge difference to my mental health,” said Stuart, “and the project does really help people like me. The outdoor environment is so inspiring, who could ask for a better place to spend your time, and crafts are my passion so it was excellent to be able to combine the two. The way the project is set up to support some really disaffected individuals who have had personal trauma really works, giving them time and support from people who have had to deal with similar issues and who have come out the other side makes it all real.” He added, “I was really nervous going up to the Victoria and Albert museum, one of those places you only really hear about. It was great that the Spring to Life team were all there and I was chuffed to bits to accept the runner up award. The winner was a local chap from Brixham who had set up the Fishstock event, which goes to show crafts are alive and well in Devon.”
Jamie Perree, a trainee gardener who works in the extensive gardens on the Sharpham Estate, was shortlisted in the final three for the Learning Against the Odds Award. The photo shows Jamie Perree working in the garden.
“I would encourage other people to think about the future and how work experience is and how you can gain confidence and experience,” said Jamie, “I want to show other deaf people we can achieve. I want to show other hearing people we are the same.”
Jane Pickard, Head Gardener at the Trust said, “Jamie’s constant positive attitude and sheer willingness to work inspires his colleagues and the volunteers on the project. Jamie has significantly increased the amount of work achieved in the Sharpham gardens and we will be growing more food this year because of his work.”
The Trust, an educational charity, is committed to supporting people through providing opportunities for physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual learning through activity, reflection, creativity and enquiry. The Trust recognises that engagement with projects such as those above provides young people, in particular,with a legacy of skills and experiences which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
The Sharpham Trust
The Sharpham Trust is an educational charity with a core responsibility to conserve Sharpham House (redesigned in 1770). The House and the estate are used as the base for the Trust’s charitable activities and attract ever-increasing numbers of people.
Sharpham Outdoors is an environmental education program run jointly between Ambios Ltd and The Sharpham Trust. Ambios Ltd is an organisation based around environmental training and capacity building.
Ecominds is part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme. Through Ecominds, Mind has funded 130 environmental projects in England to provide a range outdoor of outdoor green activities for people with mental health problems.
The Sharpham Trust, Sharpham House, Ashprington, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7UT
Telephone: 01803 732542
Natural Friends created in 1985, was the first 'green' dating and friendship site. We believe Natural Friends is the best online dating site for environmentally-sensitive, country-loving, health-conscious individuals aspiring to tread lightly on the earth www.naturalfriends.co.uk