No, gardening can’t end homelessness. But it can help.

hands on plant pot - Activity groups
Activity groups are a unsung, unexpected yet life-changing lifeline when facing homelessness.

Activity groups are the unexpected heroes of homeless rehabilitation and recovery.

They might seem like small steps in the grand scheme of things. After all, if you don’t have access to a home, healthcare or a hot meal how helpful can making art be?

How do activity groups help with homelessness?

But there’s more to our activity groups than meets the eye. They allow people to access support in a low-pressure environment while having fun in a safe space.

For some, this may be an entirely new experience or one they haven’t had in a long time.

In our centre, art, music, gardening and more can be enjoyed by people sleeping rough.

These spaces offer a break from the harsh and cold streets while also allowing for self-expression, creative release and ultimately, empowerment. The opportunity to express yourself freely is often lost during homelessness. By offering a space for this, The Connection becomes less like a charity and more like a community.

These activity groups also act as building blocks for people to feel ready for more in-depth support.

Many people we work with don’t feel ready to move away from the streets when we first meet them. This can be because they feel at home on the streets, despite the challenges, as they’ve never experienced safety indoors.

It could also be due to poor experiences with other homeless charities and support services in the past. This may lead to a lack of trust in our ability to help someone find a home that is suitable for them.

Whatever the reason, some won’t feel ready to engage with our housing and wider services. Activity groups can help bridge this gap.

Robert in our art room
Robert is a regular at our activity groups and has formed a close bond with our team.

People often visit our centre for basic needs like food and a shower.

While important, these visits tend to be quick and don’t give us a chance to really connect with people.

By working with our staff and volunteers in a fun and friendly space, people can start to form more meaningful relationships with our us. This keeps people in the building for longer. This means less time in the harsh winter weather and more time getting to know our team.

Our experience tells us that this gradual building of trust is key to working with someone to find home.

Keep learning with us

There are loads of misconceptions about people facing homelessness and our work but we’re here to debunk them and end the stigma.

If you’d like to join us on this journey, please sign up for our newsletter.

You’ll be the first to hear about our work and how you could support those struggling in our community.