Woodland Speaks

Woodland Speaks is a community based charity located in the Woodlands area of northern Doncaster. Situated in the community run local library, the organisation delivers services built around the key themes of: employment, wellbeing, infrastructure and the environment, all for the benefit of the community.

Beginning in 2014 as a local trust, Woodlands Speaks required funding to run specific workshops and begin a therapeutic programme. Both of which have been made possible since being provided with a grant of £4,974, of which £2,474 came from the Doncaster Community Grassroots Endowment Fund.

Using the library as an anchor for community work, this organisation has provided infrastructure in the form of a skate park and workshops on employment and more. Originally their wellbeing services were conducted in group workshops with a focus on one key theme such as bereavement or stress. Yet feedback suggested the need for one to one sessions so the funding has been used to pilot therapy sessions formed of two types of therapy; counselling and hypnotherapy.

Woodland Speaks use of hypnotherapy is highly significant as it is not something provided by the NHS. The wellbeing and mental states of those who have partaken in the 1to1 therapy sessions have seen large improvements from a therapy they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

Aiming to conduct 200 sessions (50 participants having 4 sessions each) between November 2019 and March 2020; the organisation is definitely on track with 84 sessions being conducted and 26 people taking part by January 2020 with exactly half of their grant being spent.

It is clear this organisation is invested in the local community with their Employment and Wellbeing Officer, Michel Romano saying:

“We want everyone who comes in to benefit from what we’re doing here, to get people on the upward curve is so important. With some of the people who come to us for help these therapy sessions have been vital. If we see some people again it is a massive success… we’ve helped to save lives.”

The therapy sessions have been successful amongst volunteers as well as service users. A recent example is the story of a volunteer whom was very low, not performing well at work and taking lots of time off the rota. The Woodlands Speaks Wellbeing Officer advised they attend a therapy session which they refused initially before returning a few months later to do so. After their sessions they were able to enjoy volunteering again as well as speak with their doctor and reduce medications.

The funding received from SYCF has really had an impact on this centre and local community as it has highlighted the impact and importance of therapy. The pilot therapy sessions have been so popular that Woodland Speaks aims to carry them on into the future. To ensure that more people can benefit from this level of essential support.