Louise Stock – talking about mental health
We met Louise on a glorious summer day at Bath City Farm where she has a part-time job working in the cafe. Lou is also a volunteer rep and member of the Make and Bake group. In between admiring the views over Bath, enjoying the plants (and livestock) and sharing a cup of tea, Lou talked about her involvement with the farm.
Bath City Farm is a community hub which attracts people from all walks of life. It provides countless opportunities for social interaction and touches a lot of people’s lives in ways which become instrumental to their well-being and sense of purpose.
When Lou first came to the farm she was, in her own words, “in a dark place”. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first came” she said. Lou joined a group supporting people who have experienced mental health problems by providing opportunities for creative and therapeutic activities.
Lou started coming up to the farm on a Thursday and found that she “fitted in almost straight away”.
A small grant through Quartet Community Foundation back in 2014 supported Bath City Farm with their Make and Bake group, and this group is still very much in existence today. The atmosphere is sociable, supportive and non-judgemental and the volunteer members of the group produce hand-made crafts, jams and preserves for sale through the on-site farm shop, and cakes, biscuits and soups which are sold through the on-site ‘Trough’ community cafe. Lou is a member of the group and particularly enjoys working with wool. Crafting is a passion for Lou who enjoys spinning and the sense of peace which can come from the natural rhythm of the technique and knowing that people have been practising the same activity for hundreds of years.
Life has certainly changed for the better for Lou since she was first introduced to Bath City Farm. She describes herself as “more positive”, and says that just knowing she can come to the farm “makes a big difference”. Lou works part-time in the cafe, something which she says she couldn’t have imagined doing just a year ago. She now has the self-confidence needed to get involved and enjoys the work. She sees first-hand how the customers at the cafe appreciate the produce made by the Make and Bake group.