Community Champions

IT Institute staff GoTo charity to hand over cheque

Written by Peter Davison.

Staff at Swindon-based BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, Escaped to a community garden to learn about Branches, Roots, and Seeds of a different kind.

The team held a bake sale on behalf of TWIGS, the Swindon-based charity that provides gardening therapy to people suffering from mental illnesses, raising £233.

BCS Finance Director Rob Deri presented TWIGS Service Manager Alan Holland with a giant cheque, before staff were given a tour of the two-and-a-half acre grounds at Cheney Manor.

They saw the Physic Garden, where herbs traditionally used to treat anxiety or aid sleep are grown, and the Japanese Garden, the first garden planted by the charity 20 years ago.

Although Swindon Borough Council pays 45% of the charity’s project costs, funding has been cut by 30% over three years, and donations from local businesses like BCS are vital to keep the garden running.

Local businesses can also help by providing staff on away-days to help with weeding and general maintenance.

“We’re extremely grateful to BCS,” said Alan. “Donations like this help us to buy the tools and materials that fuel our activities. Having good resources makes the job easier.”

The charity has just six members of staff and a group of around 30 volunteers – some of whom have been helped by TWIGS in the past – to support between 80 and 100 service users.

Currently, 91 people with mental health issues who have been referred by GPs or Job Centres to TWIGS, are supported by the charity.

Individuals or businesses who would like to support TWIGS should visit