"What's A Whiffle Pig?"
Whiffle Pig is a non-profit Makaton and Dementia-friendly Community Interest Company co-founded in 2012 by my friend Annie Astle and myself, Rachel Pratt. We both suffered a difficult family loss in 2012 and learned a great deal from our experiences as carers so we decided to try and help others who were also experiencing difficult times in their life. As we both had a background in the Arts, we started to run little craft stalls in and around Derby. The money we made from these ventures was spent on sourcing materials to facilitate creative workshops at our local hospital to distract, engage and help to reconnect patients and their families. The company went from strength to strength and after numerous successful workshops and one-to-one sessions in hospitals, care homes and in the community, our view broadened with a more medically-guided approach and the request for our services grew with new Whiffle Pigs joining us on our journey!
The Whiffle Pig Way!
Our goal is to reduce mental illness caused by social isolation by offering a wide range of services, all of which are free for service users and their families. We aim to tailor our work to each individual participant and support them in building their confidence by learning new skills or revisiting lost hobbies. We provide opportunities for participants to socialise with a view to developing a new sense of independence as well as raising awareness within the community in order to foster a more inclusive and understanding environment for our attendees.
Snouts, Seeds And Growing Trees!
After 7 years of planning and facilitating workshops, all our Whiffle Pig staff began to recognise just how important the outdoors and the act of 'making a difference' was for our participants and for ourselves - we therefore decided to open our own allotment! This endeavour began as a response to feedback from our service users and local community organisations who desperately wanted a safe outdoor space to begin growing things and revisiting hobbies that they thought they may never do again. Many local community organisations highlighted that their resources and staff were under strain from the impact of social isolation and believed that outdoor Whiffle Pig projects would make a big, positive difference to their organisation and clients. We couldn't agree more!
The Big Green Pig Project
The Big Green Pig Project was born out of our passion for gardening with an aim of supporting individuals to make friends, share knowledge, and reconnect with themselves and their community through outdoor social activities at the Whiffle Pig allotment and in the wider community. Our allotment has been designed for all our participants across multiple care and support facilities to meet in a safe space and begin outdoor projects of their choosing to benefit not only themselves, but also others in need. We aim to assist attendees in growing their own vegetables for a local homeless shelter and also take part in competitions and local community fairs to assist them in building new relationships and confidence outside of their residential environment. We will be linking our allotment to the Whiffle Pig Cook Book, which aims to provide easy, nutritious and affordable recipes for anyone in need of inspiration and support. In addition to this, we have been lucky enough to begin work with a Specialist Community Dietician at London Road Community Hospital to create targeted recipes designed to combat the growing threat of malnutrition in the elderly. All our participants have care and support needs, which can range from physical disabilities as a result of illness or injury, learning difficulties, or they may simply have limited support due to their circumstances along with minimal or no family contact. By supporting The Big Green Pig Project you will help our allotment to become somewhere truly special for our participants and we will also be able to begin planning our longer term project goals such as Mini Pig Planters. These will be designed for our more housebound service users to encourage gardening without a garden. They will be accompanied by regular seed packets and letters through the post from other service users in our group explaining how to sow and grow them!
We hope that you have enjoyed finding out a little more about what we do and if you are able to support us on our new and exciting journey from sapling to sequoia then we couldn't be more grateful and delighted!
Dedicated to my wonderful, inspirational mum and Annie's marvellous stepfather Geoff: Whiffle Pig CIC #grogreenpigs
Special thanks to Sam Jordan Films for the amazing video work and incredible support! http://samjordanfilms.co.uk/