Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 11:31

Participants of Eden’s Great Day Out programme have helped create an onsite exhibition showcasing the project’s charitable activities.

Great Day Out caters to clients of homeless hostels and drug and alcohol rehab agencies as well as youth in care groups and youth exclusion units.

It aims to engage people through group tours of Eden, creative and hands-on skills workshops such as cooking, gardening, art and photography and organised activities to improve team-building, confidence, self-esteem and mental/emotional health and well-being.

With the help of Eden’s exhibit designer Michelle Taylor, a group of Great Day Out particpants created the exhibition next to Eden’s land-train shelter where visitors wait to take a ride into the pit.

The display highlights the work of Great Day Out, People and Gardens, Seeds, Soup and Sarnies and Growing for Life programmes.

It features block-printed t-shirts and posters, decorative art made from recycled materials, photography and writing. Professional photographer Simon Barber also worked with Great Day Out to create some fabulous images for the exhibition and teach the group photography skills as part of a three-day course.

Kate Abriel, Great Day Out programme worker, said: “Eden, as a venue for environmental education and meaningful art exhibits, is an inspiring place in itself. When you combine the venue with skilled and experienced staff and a first-class social inclusion programme, it can be life-changing for participants.

“The nature of the programme is completely participatory. Each programme day is planned based on the needs of participants and the aims and objectives of the agencies that bring them along. The feedback we get is a glowing representation of the changes that are happening for participants and this is our chance to celebrate that and tell the world about it.”

People and Gardens is a unique therapy and support scheme run by and for people whose lives have been affected by disability. Based at Eden’s plant nursery, it gives those with physical and mental health issues the opportunity to learn all aspects of growing and selling vegetables, from sowing seeds and potting on, to planting and harvesting, to weighing and packing.

Seeds, Soup and Sarnies is all about planting, growing, cooking, sharing and eating. This practical Big Lottery-funded project delivers family learning courses, open to all ages and abilities, in the belief that everybody has something to contribute.

Growing for Life encourages prisoners to grow food inside prisons, which has had a marked benefit on health, behaviour and outlook.

Admission to the exhibition is included in the standard Eden ticket price. More information about Eden’s charitable projects can be found at