Our programs are primarily accessed through referrals from Island Health and Community Living BC; but we do take on a limited number of private clients.
Within our daily programming we serve a variety of adult participants each playing an integral role in our inclusive community. These participants come from all backgrounds and life experiences, all holding some kind of barrier to employment or to being easily accepted into the greater community.
The participants are generally referred to the Farm by one of our contractors, our programming then becoming part of their rehabilitation plan or an opportunity for community and skill acquirement.
Providence serves individuals with Mental Health and Substance Use issues, Brain Injuries, Developmental Challenges, Dementia and Age Related Mental Illness. No one wears labels nor are they centred out for their challenges and differences. For an outsider coming into the farm community there is no way of knowing what each individuals diagnosis or challenge is, other than obvious physical or behavioural differences. Some individuals may be dealing with depression or social anxieties needing to take the first steps to surfacing in public, or perhaps it’s someone with a brain injury needing a sense of safety and guidance to navigate simple routines allowing for a sense of purpose. Or a person with Downs Syndrome who can proudly arrive at work each day and be part of a team. Or someone trying to find their footing with a newly diagnosed mental illness. Or a senior supported amidst the confusion of dementia, finding healing and peace when working the soil of a garden plot.
Farm Programming consists of three main programs Greenways Self Help, Segues and The Saint Ann’s Garden Club.
Greenways Self Help Day Program
Greenways is the largest of our three umbrella programs, having just under one hundred spaces per week (one space equals one, six hour day per week). This program celebrated 35 years of operation in 2014.
The Greenways participants come to us with a variety of different backgrounds and needs, the only one of our programs to serve such a diversified group: Mental Illness, Substance Use, Developmental Challenges, and Brain Injuries. This Therapeutic Program has an emphasis on Horticultural Therapy, Life Skills, and Vocational Preparation and Training. The Greenways Program follows a Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) model.
Part of the Farms appeal is the programs meet the needs of the individual and the individual feeds the program. At present these programs include Wood Working, Kitchen Program, Art Studio, the Greenhouse Nursery, the Textiles Program, Farm Fashions, Photography Group, Computer Lab, Animal Care, Raised Bed Gardening, Yoga, Well Being Group, Farm Fit and a number of other workshops, trainings and educational experiences. We have something for everyone.
All participants initially enter into our assessment stream allowing opportunity for us to get to know them and decipher how we can effectively meet their needs. In turn the participant gets a feel for the farm and its possibilities. This assessment period can last up to three months after which time they will enter either our Therapeutic, Pre-Vocational or Vocational Stream. A large majority of our participants are here for Therapeutic Programming. Depending on the reasoning for the participants engagement in programming deciphers the amount of time they would remain in program. This can range from months to years.
Segues Day Program
Segues provides daily programming for a group of mentally and physically challenged men requiring a slightly higher level of staff supports than that of the Greenways participants. These individuals have a variety of programming with an emphasis on seasonal agricultural activities which provide a direct connection to nature. There is an emphasis on the benefits of horticultural therapy which is a specialty of the farms philosophy.
The Segues team can be thanked for holding a very large part in our grounds keeping and maintenance of the beautiful gardens around the farm. Activities also include recycling, firewood program, apple cider production, seasonal decorations and event set up. Some of the Segues crews access Greenways programming as a means of further social interaction and skill development. The program is run by three staff and the participants are assigned into crews amongst the staff.
Saint Ann’s Garden Club (SAGC)
SAGC was founded on the basis of horticultural therapy. The program is dedicated to older adults and seniors with age related dementia or serious mental illness and/or substance use issues. The program provides opportunities for participants to reduce social isolation, improve physical strength and develop relationships among the group, ultimately assisting the participants to continue living independently in their communities.
Along with Horticultural Therapy, the program offers arts and crafts, woodworking, board and card games, music and sing along. The program organizes the annual, Saint Ann’s Plant Sale as a means of fundraising. The sale is held every April consisting of a variety of annuals, perennials and bedding plants all cultivated by the program. As well the woodworking shop and arts program produce garden paraphernalia such as bean trestles and mason bee house. The Saint Ann’s Garden Club is run by two staff and a number of fabulous volunteers.
SAGC is partially funded through the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Other funding is found through fundraising efforts and events of Providence Farm, generous donations from the local community, grants from foundations and user fees. User fees are $10 per day.
Program hours: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Tuesday through Friday
Click the link for a printable brochure of the St. Ann’s Garden Club program-SAGC-Brochure-2014.pdf
One-on-one participants have individualized programming with a strong focus on the development of life skills and integrating the individual into community. Programming is customized to the needs of these individuals; they will often join into our umbrella programs for tailored durations of time and activity. Giving them a chance to work alongside other staff and participants as a means of socialization, involvement in group based activities and an opportunity to enjoy the many fun and rewarding program areas we offer.