Sheltered Work Opportunities Project

What We Do

Although it is primarily a sheltered work project, the nurseries are much more than just a place to work. We aim to provide a happy and supportive community, where people are actively encouraged to care for and support each other.

We are unique in offering a service addressing the needs of the whole person, in addition to therapeutic and varied work rehabilitation.

One valuable service we fund is a twice-weekly visit from a specialist Disability Rights Advisor, supplied at a cost by the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau. They provide help with filling in forms and accessing benefits, information on entitlements, and advice on a wide range of issues ranging from housing and debt to information on employment.

SWOP - Our Mission

For those that would like to go into paid employment, the Nurseries are a great place to gain confidence and skills in a work environment. Through engagement with local Employment Specialists, we can signpost Volunteers to professional support in finding a paid job that suits the individual.

We organise a variety of visits and events throughout the year to give Volunteers the opportunity to socialise and see more of the world.  For many of the Volunteers it is the only opportunity they have to experience such visits.  They have been to places from the Tower of London to the Great Dorset Steam Fair. The annual Harry Roffey Day outing, held in memory of a former supporter, has taken them to gardens including Kew Gardens, RHS Wisley and Forde Abbey.  Other trips involve activities such as bird watching, learning about herbs, or boat trips.

We offer events and workshops on site – such as hot soup lunches in winter, an annual barbecue in the summer – which everyone can enjoy and meet and socialise with new people, plus Pilates and other life-style courses.

Those Volunteers who wish to have the opportunity to show the nursery to others offer guided tours to the many visitors who come from far and wide to learn about what we do.

We have been very lucky in being awarded some free holidays courtesy of The Landmark Trust’s 50 for Free programme. This allows some Volunteers the opportunity to enjoy a mid-week stay in one of their properties whilst being supported by fellow Volunteers and staff. This could be the only holiday they have been able to cope with for many years, if at all.

As friendships develop and confidence grows, Volunteers organize their own trips together, going to the cinema, meeting for coffee, things they would never have done before giving the opportunity to realise that they do not need to be isolated by their mental illness – there is a place for them in the world.

Volunteers are offered opportunities to learn new skills and develop new interests through courses. Weekly classes are held in Literacy, Numeracy and English with the use of Computers.

We are thrilled to be working with Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester to offer RHS Level 1 in Practical Horticulture to some of our Volunteers.

Pastoral help at SWOP

Some other examples of the pastoral help available ….

  • Accompaniment to essential appointments in a crisis
  • Referral to specialist services where required
  • Support and advice with problems, on site or by telephone
  • Debt and budgeting support
  • On-site courses both basic and accredited.
  • Advice and help with finding and starting training courses
  • Help with obtaining accommodation, furniture and clothing
  • Help with moving into new accommodation
  • Help for those who may be facing homelessness.
  • A washing machine, drier and shower room on site
  • Help with travel expenses
  • Special funding to cover emergency transport
  • Presentations from other services and support networks
  • Talks given to local groups and services
  • A listening and non-judgemental ear