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Garden and guests flourish at Fatima House

In the heart of Birmingham, amidst the bustling city streets, guests at Fatima House have created a little oasis of calm where they can relax, spend time in nature, and see the fruits of their labours flourish.

Women staying at Fatima House have transformed the area behind the building from a plain courtyard into a thriving garden where they grow flowers and vegetables. And they are reaping a bountiful harvest thanks to their efforts.

Fatima House provides safe accommodation for vulnerable women who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. It provides security during an uncertain time in their lives. The communal garden is one way in which women staying at Fatima House can care for their mental and physical wellbeing. Women also enjoy arts and crafts sessions, trips out and activities at the house. Other recent activities included rock painting and a visit to the Black Country Living Museum.

For many people seeking sanctuary, working together to plant and grow flowers and vegetables is a unique way to build community, learn and to share skills. Growing their own vegetables will also enable the women to cook and share traditional meals from their countries of origin.

Spending time in the garden also improves mental health by offering a way to be in nature that is productive and relaxing. It provides physical exercise and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can offer a meaningful experience and help people feel connected to their new home. It can also boost self-esteem and confidence, help people feel connected with their homeland, family and culture, and bring a sense of normality in uncertain times.

The work, which has been funded by a lottery Awards for All grant via St Anne’s parish, offers the women the chance to bond, while creating something that will benefit guests now as well as those that will come to Fatima House in the future.

Fatima House is a partnership project that offers safe shelter to female asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and homeless. Read more about Fatima House.

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