By Amelia Mustapha, St. Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training (SMART)

Often, the biggest hurdles facing anyone affected by mental ill-health are self-esteem and isolation. When someone walks through the door of SMART we believe in them, show them what they can do and let them know in no uncertain terms that they are amongst friends. It’s as simple as that and it works.

SMART 4We were very pleased, therefore, to receive funds from the City Living Local Life fund to pay for our gardening work in the World’s End Estate and to fund our Christmas Day opening. It meant that 12 of our members got to create and maintain planters for the local community to enjoy, gaining valuable skills and contributing to an area in which they live. They are going to need them even more soon as a SMART garden will feature at the RHS Flower Show in Hampton Court this summer.

SMART 1“It was a cold day but we rolled our sleeves up and created beautiful planters that made people smile as they walked past”

It also meant that around 40 people were able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings amongst friends, music and laughter. We were open from 10am until 4pm so saw lots of people who just dropped in for a cuppa too.

 “Without SMART I would have been stuck at home”

Knowing that people care enough to fund these things for them give our members a real boost and we staff at SMART are so lucky to see the impact of that, everyday. Thank you Councillors!SMART 2