Natural Progressions @ SPARC

SPARC has recently secured funding from the People’s Health Trust for a 2-year project called Natural Progressions.

As the new green space development worker I’ll be setting up a number of ‘green space’ initiatives within four Stockport postcode areas covering parts of Adswood, Bridgehall, Edgeley and the town centre.

Garden photos 041I’m starting to develop links within the local community and have been in contact with a number of people and groups that have shown interest and enthusiasm about getting involved in the project.

I’m looking forward to a very exciting two years and will be making regular updates via the blog.

James Campbell – Green Space Development Worker.

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SPARC Christmas tree at St. George’s Christmas Tree Festival

One again SPARC has a tree in the St. George’s Christmas Tree Festival. St George’s is our local church, in fact it’s just across the road from us, and every year they hold a Christmas Tree Festival that all sorts of local businesses and organisations take part in. This year our theme is Christmas Together, reflecting the Alliance between SPARC and Stockport and District Mind.









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The event runs from Wednesday 27 November until Sunday 1 December, admission is £2 (free for children) and the opening times are:

Wednesday 27th November, 12-6

Thursday 28th November, 12-7

Friday 29th November, 12-8

Saturday 30th November, 12-6

Sunday 1st December, 12-4

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SPARC Women’s Group are singing sensations!

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The Women’s Group singing their hearts out at our recent garden party.

Singing for fun workshops, funded by Awards for All (part of the Big Lottery Fund) have been a big hit with our Women’s Group over the past few months.

Thanks to this funding we were able to bring in community musician Kamey to facilitate some singing workshops for the group.  We had 4 sessions in total and they were all really good fun and interactive.

One of the highlights was that we were able to write our own lyrics to the Women’s Group Blues.  Some of the group members then had the courage to perform this song as part of our Garden party event in front of an audience!  It was all great fun and fit completely within the aims and objectives of the music sessions.

We had great feedback from the participants who have agreed that we can share their thoughts:

Sandra said … ‘It was really good and Kamey was very nice.’
Nicky said … ‘I thought I couldn’t sing but I joined in and had a go.’
Susan said … ‘I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to Kamey coming again in November.’

A huge thank you to everyone involved.


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Inreach sessions get rave reviews from Stepping Hill Hospital!

Oblong logo smallAs reported in an earlier blog post, we have been running activity sessions at the Mental Health Unit at Stepping Hill Hospital for the last few weeks. This is an innovative new aspect to our service and we are very excited about it. Today we received a wonderful endorsement of the sessions from the Inpatient Services Manager at Stepping Hill, who has given us permission to share his words on our blog. We are delighted that the project has been such a success and are hopeful that it will continue.

I just wanted to heap a bit of praise on Lynn and the team from SPARC.  We have commissioned them to provide a number of occupational activities on the ward from art to gardening.  Although the commission is in its infancy, the activities have been received with such enthusiasm.  (Staff) commented yesterday that they have often struggled to find patients as they are always attending activities.  The way Lynn has developed the team and adapted to a changing environment, both financially and politically is inspiration to us all.  I hope that we can continue to work together, for the good of the patients for a long time to come.

Huge thanks are due to the staff and sessional workers who have put so much of their time and effort into setting up and running these sessions – it’s their efforts that have made the project such a success – thank you one and all!

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Announcing a Garden Party to celebrate the SPARC/Stockport Mind Alliance

sparc poster Garden PartyWe are all looking forward to hosting a Spring garden party to launch the new Alliance between SPARC and Stockport and District Mind. The two organisations have always worked closely but this more formal alliance will see the provision of an Enablement and Recovery Service for people with mental health problems in Stockport, offering a seamless service to support people in their recovery.

Why not come along on Friday 17th May from 1.00 to 3.00 pm to find out about these exciting developments?

As well as information about the Alliance and the new service there will be refreshments, cakes, crafts and garden plants on sale, a chance to see the progress of the sparc4music project (supported by the Big Lottery Fund and Vodafone WOD) and the chance to meet staff, students, volunteers and members of both services.

The event itself is being kindly supported by Cheshire Datasystems and Business in the Community as part of their ‘Give and Gain‘ day and we would like to thank them very much for all their help.

To book a place you can add your name on our Eventbrite page. The event is free and there’s no need to register on Eventbrite but it will help us to keep track of everyone who is attending:

For more information please contact us on 0161 429 9744 or

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Artistic collaboration between Growing Together Project and Stockport College!

Allotment 029An interesting recent development has been a connection between the Growing Together Project and some some graphic design students from Stockport College.

SPARC and the Active Stockport Officer at Stockport College had been looking at ways they could support us to promote outdoor activities to benefit our members. One of the suggestions that came from this was that the Growing Together Project, based at Whitehill Allotments,  would benefit from some promotional items, such as posters and other items.

A team of First year BA (Hons) Graphic Arts & Design students came for a visit with their tutor, Ian Parkin, on Wednesday 10th April. The session gave the students the chance to muck in (literally) with the session, meet the members and hopefully be inspired to come up with some appropriate work. The students interacted really well with staff and members and were professional in how they conducted themselves. The students returned on Wednesday 24th with their design proposals which they presented to the group members and staff. Each proposal was presented in a professional manner and with genuine interest. The designs will be mulled over by the group and the winning design announced.

One of the students involved in the project said …

“The part that stood out the most during the Growing Together Project was exploring my surroundings and creating imagery from what I can find. I did this by experimenting with nature and found materials such as leaves, branches, flowers and scrap paper.

This is something I would never normally do because usually I create computer generated imagery but surprisingly they do look more interesting compared to my previous pieces of work. Maybe this is something I should do more often in the future.”


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