Mental Health and Wellbeing THRIVES at Abbotsford

8th April 2022

A new pilot project at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, near Melrose, is supporting local people who have been affected by the pandemic. Focussing on wellbeing, employability and improved mental health, the THRIVE project is running until the end of June 2022. 

Working in partnership with the Local Area Co-ordination (LAC) – Mental Health team at Scottish Borders Council, the THRIVE project is aimed at adults who have engaged with the service to participate in weekly group activities on site at Abbotsford. The LAC team support adults who have acknowledged mental health difficulties that are affecting their quality of life.

The THRIVE project is led by Mary Kenny, Heritage Engagement Officer at Abbotsford, with support from the Local Area Co-ordination team, Abbotsford staff and a small group of Abbotsford volunteers who are assisting with the project. The project is funded by the Scottish Borders Council Build Back a Better Borders Recovery Fund. 

The project involves group activities that take place each week at Abbotsford in six-week blocks,withthree places available to participants per block. The group focuses on a different department each week, giving participants an insight into each work area and hands-on experience through a range of taster activities. These activities have been developed in collaboration with staff and include hands-on practical activities in the gardens and estate, front-of-house activities in the historic house and visitor centre, ‘behindthe scenes’ activities such as digital marketingandvisitor interpretation and creative and storytelling activities. 

TheTHRIVE projectgivesparticipantsthe opportunity to improvetheirphysical and mental health and develop life skills, for example: communication skills and timekeeping; buildingstructure and focusinto their week; gaining an insight into theirownlocal heritageand jobs in the tourism sector; and gaining experience of short-term volunteering in preparation for a longer-term volunteering opportunity at Abbotsford or elsewhere. 

Mary Kenny, Heritage Engagement Officer at Abbotsford, said: ‘The man who created this wonderful place experienced his own mental health problems- his ‘muligrubs’. Abbotsford has so much to offer locally, and THRIVE project is designed to its offer its volunteers perspective, inspiration and a little experience of what it takes to keep such a place going, while reflecting on where their own journey may lead.’ 

One of the first THRIVE participants said: ‘This has been a really inspirational and insightful experience; Abbotsford has had so much to offer for me on this course.’