Charitable Objectives Of Minsteracres
To reach out to people on the margins of church and society.
Over the years we have welcomed many individuals and groups who experience spiritual or social disempowerment. We have learnt that time spent at Minsteracres can give a rare sense of belonging and is greatly valued.
Most of our outreach work is done through partnerships. Over the years we have worked with organisations that care for people in recovery from substance misuse, organisations who support refugees and asylum seekers.
We are looking to develop new partnerships with clients who could benefit from the peace and space Minsteracres has to offer. Please contact our outreach coordinator Liz Holmes if you would like to know more about outreach at Minsteracres.
Our Outreach Programme
Providing an outreach programme was one of the three key aims of Minsteracres Retreat Centre when it became a charity in 2012, and has always been an important part of what we do here.
With nearly 30 years’ experience as a social worker specialising in childcare and children with disabilities, Liz Holmes is well placed to run the programme, and she has had considerable success in engaging organisations, bringing in new ones drawn by her reputation and the experience of working with her in the past.
“I used my knowledge of the voluntary and social sectors to explore possible new users,” said Liz. “So far we have had carers’ groups, families and friends of people in recovery from substance misuse, people with HIV and their families, disabled children and, of course, our long standing partner Freedom from Torture.”
“Typically groups come for a day, mostly for respite and time out. The programme offers a balance of rest and activity according to each group’s needs, with massage, relaxation exercises and therapeutic activities for the adults, and outdoor activities like pond dipping, den building and woodland walks for the children.”
Managing all this is a tall order for one person, but Liz is not alone. She is supported with a small dedicated team of volunteers, including a former social worker, a mental health nurse and other professions.
If you would like to know more about our outreach programme, email Liz
Our Outreach team. From L to R: Glen, Kerry, Liz Hume, Liz Holmes, Lindsay
The Peace Garden
The peace garden is a beautiful space of calm which provides food for the soul as well as the table
The Peace Garden is a space of almost two acres to the north of the house which can be seen from the driveway as you approach the house.
It grew from a visit from people from a drop-in centre in Newcastle, many living in inner city flats with no access to outside space who were looking at the possibilities of getting involved at Minsteracres. They liked the suggestion of starting a fruit and vegetable garden and asked if their group could be known as peace gardeners, because of the sense of peace they felt here. And so the name Peace Garden was born.
‘Nature as companion, healer and teacher’
The garden has matured considerably since its beginnings back in 2011 and is now used for retreats, relaxation and private contemplation. It is also home to an innovative gardening therapy scheme run by local social enterprise, Let’s Get Growing.
Led by horticulturalists Ross Menzies and Katrina Padmore, the scheme recognises the importance of outdoor activity in recovering from illness and maintaining wellbeing.
They run regular therapeutic sessions with a group of people with broad and diverse needs. This includes people with mental health difficulties, perhaps recovering from a life crisis, people with stress, depression and mild learning difficulties and early onset dementia.
Theirs is an innovative approach and one that has proved to be successful.