For many of our clients, Eco-op and the other people who attend it become part of their everyday support network helping to build resilience, maintain health, and encourages a positive approach to mind, body and spirit.
Kingston Eco-Op is committed to running a diverse range of activities, events and workshops. We provide opportunities for learning, developing life skills, raising self-esteem and confidence by being part of our small community. Each of our clients have their own individual learning plan that is tailored to the client's needs and aims to connect their experience at the project with long-term goals.
We have been inspired by the New Economic Foundation’s Five Steps to Wellbeing and intend to use these well researched guidelines to steer our strategic direction. These principles have been embraced by many organisations as a practical way of building resilience, wellbeing and mindfulness for those in vulnerable groups.
Our project emphasises social contact and belonging. We have a range of project events throughout the year to celebrate the seasons and we make efforts to recognise achievements as well as birthdays.
Our partnership with Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College has brought a lot of new activities to the project. We aim to offer different courses every term, some of which will be hosted at our premises in Kingston and others set at Parkshot in Richmond, or Hillcroft in Surbiton.
In addition to our seasonal bike rides we are working with the YMCA Kingston to enable our clients to access more physical activities to encourage good health; these include dancing classes, Zumba and sports.
Mindfulness has become a useful tool for alleviating mental health issues but is not always suitable for all. In place of this we invite partner groups like the National Challenge Service to the project to engage with our clients, share ideas and life experiences. In addition, MIND also provide sessions with groups of clients to ensure that the service remains answerable to our clients.
Peer to peer support has always been a key feature of Kingston Eco-Op. Being aware of the feelings and needs of others is not only crucial for future employment but also helps to increase social skills in general.
We have links with Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College (RHACC), the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames employment support team and Balance Kingston to provide training and support into work and volunteering for our service users and volunteers.
We have links with Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) so we are able to run classes that either take place at Kingston Eco-op or at Richmond Adult Community College.
We provide supported training for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities by refurbishing donated bicycles. All our bikes and second hand parts are for sale.
Kingston Eco-Op works closely with its partners to provide a variety of physical and mental wellbeing activities. We also signpost our clients to activities outside of the project that may be beneficial to them according to their particular interests and needs.
What does a typical week look like?
The snackboxes are filled with a selection of Fairtrade products such as yoghurt coated raisins, double chocolate chunk cookies, fruit and nut mix and wafer bars.