GROWING fruit and veg, woodwork and craft sessions play a crucial role in helping people with mental ill health back into paid work, education or training.

And a £4,660 grant for Restore to buy a potting shed for its East Oxford site will give a real boost to the charity.

The project at The Beehive in Manzil Way is one of six recovery groups Restore operates around the county.

Restore head of external relations, Tom Hayes, said that people with mental ill health often find themselves unable to take part in employment, training or other meaningful activities.

He explained: “With recovery, it’s about supporting people to gain positive insights into themselves, to develop new skills and set goals they work towards, providing a sense of structure and purpose.

“The money for this shed will be really helpful, as it will provide a space for us to do that for a larger number of people.”

The cash award comes from The Gannett Foundation which is operated on behalf of the Oxford Mail’s parent company Gannett Media.

Last year, Restore supported more than 680 members and provides coaching to bring out the best in people so that they can find and stay in paid work.

But there is a lengthy waiting list for people wanting to use its services, so extra funding is always welcome, Mr Hayes explained.

The new shed means the charity will be able to help 25 to 30 more people each year.

Mr Hayes said: “Social networks are such an important part of recovery.

“I heard from a member quite recently about how she knew that she was starting to recover from mental ill health because she wasn’t just in recovery doing something for herself, she was doing something to support another person.

“And because this shed is going to provide space for people to work with each other, then it is going to be a really helpful thing.”

Some of those who come to Beehive may also be battling homelessness, substance misuse and poverty.

Restore's other recovery groups are at the Garden Café also in Manzil Way, Elder Stubbs in East Oxford, Littlemore, Fleet Meadow group in Didcot and The Orchard in Banbury.

Restore joint chief executive Lesley Dewhurst said: “We are delighted to be getting the money from the Gannett Foundation.

“It is about helping people move from a position of ill health through to recovering their status and enjoyment of life, finding they can get back into routine work and things that can give them joy and growing things is a key part of that.”