Derventio Housing Trust Growing Lives


For over ten years Derventio Housing Trust has housed homeless people in Erewash. For Derventio, housing is a great start, but for people who are facing lots of different problems a roof is not always enough.

Growing Lives has been set up by Derventio to offer a safe and supportive environment where people moving on from being homeless can build skills and take positive stepstowards a better future.

There is an urban garden, which is home to 6 chickens, a fruit and vegetable plot and plenty of flowers and local wildlife. There is a training kitchen, where people use the fresh garden produce to learn to cook healthy meals on a budget.

The handy workshop is used for refurbishing and upcycling furniture, and the craft room helps people to be creative and learn new skills. The computer room allows people to reconnect with friends and family, whilst also being used to apply for work and volunteeringopportunities.     

For more information or to make a donation, go to:

Katies Story

When Katie was 24 she found herself living on a park bench during a wet January. She had been abused by her controlling partner in every way imaginable. Eventually Katie left but she had nowhere to go. She’d not been allowed friends, her Dad had passed away and her Mum was living with a new partner, who was also extremely controlling.

“I was terrified and felt so low. I thought about  committing suicide every day when I was sleeping in the park”.

She was depressed, her confidence was at rock bottom and she had no hope for the future. After a month of sleeping rough, Katie found Derventio Housing Trust. Once Katie had settled in to her new home, she then found the safe haven of Growing Lives.

At first Katie spent a great deal of time on her own, away from the rest of the group. As her confidence started to grow, she began to look after the chickens and cook for others. A passion was born and Katie went on to complete her Food Hygiene qualification.

Last Christmas, Katie cooked Christmas dinner for everyone. This year she will be doing the same, but as a professional chef, because Katie is now working, cooking for residents in a local nursing home.

"Growing Lives has given me hope, it helps take my mind off the bad stuff. Without it I’d be stuck in a rut. Now I have this job I feel live everything is coming together for me and I am excited about the future!”

 For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   




Specialist Stroke Services

Last year the Specialist Stroke Services received a Public Health Small Grant administered by NDVA to buy cooking equipment for stroke survivors.

Julie Wheelhouse, Chief Executive of Specialist Stroke Services told NDVA, “This has been a lovely project as we have watched people grow in confidence.  Diane is one of our younger survivors.  Before her stroke Diane ran a smallholding and had her own farm shop – she sold her own pickles, jams etc.  Diane is a very experienced cook, but her stroke means she has no use of her right arm or hand, and she was previously right handed so has had to learn to cope with the use of her left hand.  Still managing to do a lot of cooking and baking, she was the ideal choice to take the lead on this project and has inspired other survivors and challenged the thought that it is impossible to cook one handed”.


Making buns

Diane has planned a number of sessions where she was able to demonstrate first and then support other people to make simple dishes. 

Julie explained, “People are encouraged to work together, helping each other when necessary and supporting each other when it has been challenging.  Some have initially been frustrated or upset that they struggle now with tasks that they used to find so easy and took for granted, however this too has been positive, as part of coming to terms with a stroke is learning what your body can and can’t do and learning new ways to tackle things”.  

She went on to say, “Another success has been a young man who was very low in mood following his stroke, he is fairly new to our service and we couldn’t engage him with the cooking activities although he did enjoy watching the others.  We were delighted when he came in recently with his wife carrying a box of scones he had made at home after watching our cooking session.  He still doesn’t cook with the others, but enjoys watching and helping if he can.  His wife also tells us he has started to help her in the kitchen at home if she is baking and they are getting enjoyment from having an activity they can do together”. 

“This project has been one that has made a positive impact on the lives of lots of people.  For Diane, when she was asked to lead the project she was excited but unsure how well she would manage.  In fact, she has blossomed and it is lovely to see her growing in confidence and using the skills she has learnt to lead sessions and engage our survivors”.

The Stroke Association will be continuing with the project and spending the grant money on robust good quality cooking equipment so it’s always available for them to provide regular cooking sessions.   The only downside of the project is they have all had to eat enormous amounts of cakes!!

Gardening Project

Specialist Stroke Services are also in the second year of a gardening project, funded by a Public Health NED small grant, which has been incredibly successful.  What has worked particularly well is using the produce they have grown – potatoes, peas, marrows, onions, carrots etc. as part of the cooking project.  Chris (a stroke survivor) has worked with Diane to plan what can be grown for use in their kitchen for cooking sessions.  For example, they planned and then planted winter veg: swede, parsnip and carrots to make winter soup and Cornish pasties. 

Diane and Chris

The cooking project has helped staff to engage users in the gardening project, even if it is just taking part in discussions about what to plant and putting forward ideas for recipes.

This cooking project has so inspired the Specialist Stroke Services and their survivors they are planning a project to have a beehive and make their own honey – the honey would be used at the centre in cooking, but also be sold to help to raise funds for the Stroke Centre.   Also, realising they get through a lot of eggs, they now aim to keep rare breed chickens to help with the cooking project and plan to raise funds to buy an Omlet chicken coop that will be easy for survivors to use and keep clean.

For more information contact Julie on: 01246 855350, email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit:



Revd Alan Griggs, an Agricultural Chaplain, since July last year, has been a trained volunteer working with the Farming Community Network (FCN) to support farmers and agricultural workers in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales facing all kinds of challenges including bereavement, ill health, financial pressures, and TB.

An agricultural chaplaincy has existed in Derbyshire since 2002 following the devastation of foot and mouth disease. Farming has seen some tough times over the years and farmers have a reputation for resilience in the face of adversity. However, the first four months of 2016 has been a particularly difficult time. For once, the weather has not been a major player in causing stress, but other factors certainly have – the continued low return for milk and meat; the spread of bovine TB; and the extended delay in issuing annual grants.  Add to this rural isolation and extremely long working hours and farmers of all ages are at higher risk of depression and suicide.

Reverend Alan Griggs

Here’s a list Alan gave when we asked - What do agricultural chaplains actually do?

- Attend livestock markets and agricultural shows to meet and chat with farmers and agricultural traders.

- Proactively travel to farms to see farmers in their place of work.

- Provide a listening ear and practical support during challenging times.

- Visit care homes to meet retired farmers in care.

- Work with other support agencies such as the Farming Community Network (FCN), The Farming Life Centre, rural health teams, the Addington Fund, RABI, the rural church, and other voluntary and statutory organisations to provide holistic help.

- Organise special worship services at Harvest and Christmas at Bakewell Livestock Market.

He also said “A decision to have a team of chaplains with the aim of covering the County has now led to some exciting initial growth.  Revd Dr Stella Mills from the Notts and Derby Methodist Church and Revd Sue Bamping from Taddington in the Derbyshire Dales have now joined the team as Associate Chaplains. Both bring a wide range of skills and experience with a passion for rural issues”.

A team with a passion to help young people are planning a care farm project in partnership with the Methodist Peak Park Enabler and a Peak sheep farmer and Rural Action Derbyshire. The farm is a commercial sheep farm set in the heart of the Peak District and will seek to place young people under the age of 25 years who are not in education or employment. The project hopes to be up and running by July / September this year.

At this stage Alan is keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved and in particular, volunteering to help with the ongoing work to convert the barn into a space for young people to sit and eat together after a day’s work on the farm!

For further information contact Revd Alan Griggs on 07710088972 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Graham Hinds, FCN local coordinator on: 07833 638562.   The FCN National Helpline is: 03000 111 999.


It’s all go at 28d High Street in Ripley!  The Derbyshire Autism Services (DAS) team are rushed off their feet keeping up with all of their new developments; one of which is their fabulous new DAS logo, designed by one of their clients.

Manager Janette Ashworth says, ‘We’re obviously maintaining the high quality of our core service of support for children, young people and adults with autism across Derbyshire, as well as their families but we’re also expanding into other areas of need, as organisations and individuals approach us for our advice and expertise.’  The team have been out and about across the County, providing bespoke training packages for professionals who come across people with autism in their day to day work - such as the front line reception staff at Ashgate Medical Centre in Chesterfield, Homestart volunteers in Swadlincote and the client support team at Futures Homescape in Ripley and there are many more training sessions planned.

‘A person with autism is seven times more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system,’ says Janette, ‘and we’re putting a lot of effort into working alongside professionals within the system to make sure that people with autism aren’t unfairly disadvantaged because of a lack of awareness.’

DAS has struck lucky in this respect as they’ve managed to secure the services of a Forensic Psychologist in training who is working with them for two days a week for twelve months. As part of the final year of her doctorate in Forensic Psychology, Sarah Ashworth will be working with the team to extend the awareness of autism across all professionals in the field, as well as undertaking research into effective support.  One of her first tasks isto deliver a day of training to the Ilkeston based Youth Offending Team on how autism might affect the young people they come into contact with.

In order to be able to meet the demand for their support services, DAS has recently recruited two new teams of Family Support Workers.  The new staff and volunteers have a wide range of experience, including residential care, street support work, outdoor activities instruction and teaching and they’re all keen to get started as soon as possible.

An exciting plan for 2016 is the acquisition of a holiday home in the Peak District so that families can enjoy some peaceful time together in the countryside not too far from home.

For more information contact Janette on 01773 741221 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



At Helen’s Trust we pride ourselves on our responsiveness, flexibility and on how we work with other statutory agencies and voluntary organisations to ensure our beneficiary and their carer receive as much support as possible.

When we receive a referral, our Referrals Coordinators make contact with a lot of relevant individuals. Their nursing and palliative experience and skills are really beneficial in enabling them to navigate the complex and sensitive situations of our beneficiaries.

The following is the journey of one referral to Helen’s Trust. This is in our Referral Coordinator Gill’s own words.

I received a telephone call from a friend of a gentleman who had an aggressive illness and was deteriorating rapidly. The friend was concerned because the gentleman’s wife was struggling to support him. He was experiencing a lot of distressing symptoms at night so his wife was very sleep deprived.

I gathered some further information from the friend.

I made a telephone call to the potential beneficiary’s Community Nurse to gather more clinical information, to confirm this beneficiary met our criteria & to find out what statutory services were involved. I informed her that I would telephone the gentleman’s wife and discuss what Helen’s Trust had to offer.

I telephoned the gentleman’s wife and introduced myself and we discussed my role and the ethos of Helen’s Trust. She informed me that her Husband was attending Chesterfield Royal Hospital today to have further investigations. She informed me that she would be very grateful for some night sits because she was so tired. Her husband was restless at night and required regular attention; sleep deprivation meant that she was struggling to continue to care for her husband during the day. I informed her that 4 nights would be the maximum of night sits that we could fund in the first episode and then we would review. I explained to her I would process this request and that I would regularly update her on my progress securing some night sits. The gentleman became our beneficiary at this point.

I telephoned a local provider and gave them the information they needed to be able to provide the appropriate support.

2 hours later I received a phone call from the provider informing me that they could provide a night sitter and they could be flexible and be available to suit the needs of the beneficiary’s wife. I telephoned our beneficiary’s wife and she informed me that her husband had been admitted to CRH as an inpatient. I gave her all my contact details and encouraged her to contact me on the event her husband was discharged so that we could discuss support should she require it.

2 weeks later at 16 00 hrs I received a phone call from a Discharge Liaison Nurse at CRH. Our Beneficiary had just been discharged home. A Fast Track had been submitted for a package of care but they could not secure any night sits at this time. The Discharge Liaison Nurse wanted us to supply a night sitter for that night. I informed her that I may struggle to find a provider for the night giving the lateness of the referral but would do my best.

I made several telephone calls to providers who covered the geographical area of the beneficiary.

At 6 pm I received a phone call from a provider informing me that they could provide a night sitter for that night. I informed the wife of our beneficiary andthat I would discuss with the provider dates for an additional 3 nights and I would liaise with Marie Curie to avoid duplication.

The next day I contacted the Community Nurse and she was able to confirm that she was going to request funding for night sits from Continuing Health Care (CHC).

I telephoned Marie Curie and they confirmed that they had received a referral to supply night sits to our beneficiary. I documented the dates they had secured a night sitter and then gave those dates to our provider so that duplication of the service would be avoided.

I telephoned our beneficiary’s wife, to keep her informed. She had not been informed about Marie Curie’s input, I explained to her how HT would fund a further 3 nights avoiding duplication with their service. Marie Curie’s input and ours now secured a consistent amount of night sits.

I telephoned the Community Nurse to inform her which night sits had been secured. She was liaising with Continuing Healthcare.

I telephoned our beneficiary’s wife and relayed all of this information to her.

Our beneficiary deteriorated & it was brought to our attention that his wife was struggling. I discovered the Ashgate Hospicecare Hospice at Home Team were offering support, so I liaised with their Coordinator. I offered to supplement their support with our 6 hour package of funding for Carer Respite.

I spoke to our beneficiary’s wife and she told me that our support would be gratefully received. We started to fund 6 hours per week Carer Respite.

I was informed that our Beneficiary died 2 weeks later at home, which was his wish.

If you know of someone who you think might benefit from the support Helen’s Trust can offer, please give us a call on 01629 812759. For more information go to our website

Get in touch

Offices 2a-2c (2nd Floor)
The Market Hall
S40 1AR
Tel: 01246 555908
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