Earth, Air, Fire & Water…

At the garden project we have been learning about the four elements; earth, air, fire and water. We then decided that we would make these symbols to hang in the garden. Using cuttings from our willow tree, we got to work. It took us some time to snip each bit of willow to the right length, and put the symbols together – but now they are hung in the garden, in our small woodland walk patch. 

This is the symbol for Fire.
This is the symbol for Earth.
This is the symbol for Air.
This is the symbol for Water.
Here are our willow elements hung up.

Spring is on its way…

Spring is on the horizon and that means we are spending more time preparing the garden for the busiest few months of the year. We have worked hard over the last few weeks to tidy up, clearing away debris, trimming back trees, bushes and over grown shrubs, weeding, washing pots, cutting the grass and organising the compost heaps.

As our garden slowly begins to wake up after winter, we have been lucky enough to have snowdrops and daffodils flower, and had many rain free days. Now the hard work begins as we sow seeds in our outdoor pots, raised beds and in the poly tunnel. So far we have planted carrots, tomatoes and spinach – ready for our summer BBQs. 

We have lots more to do, but can’t wait for the warmer days ahead when we can sit out, relax and enjoy the beautiful garden, and our freshly picked fruit and veg.

Keep checking back to see what we get up to in coming months. 

Our new found love of cycling

With many of our usual activities being put on hold, our team have encouraged us to visit wheels for all. Lots of us have been, and thoroughly enjoyed cycling using the different bikes they have available. We have had so much fun, that it has now become an activity many of us take part in twice a week, Our new found love of cycling means that as we get more comfortable some of us are trying new things, and working hard to take part on our own! 


Making a house our home

Over the last week we have been busy working on our living skills, by decorating our room. After a few days choosing a colour, we decided on blue, so got to work preparing the walls. We filled holes, smoothed the scrapes and cleaned up the skirting boards. 

A few members of the garden project chipped in, helping to cut in around the skirting boards, plug sockets and switches before we got to roll the first coat on the wall. 

Once that had dried, we worked all weekend to do another coat and add the  finishing touches, hanging our collection of hats along the beam and our framed Forest Green Rovers football shirt back up on the wall. 

We have really enjoyed decorating our room, and the transformation from magnolia to our favourite colour has made it feel more like our home. We hope to be able to help some of our other friends transform their places and use our new skills again soon.

Life in lockdown…

We are now a little over a month into lockdown 3.0, so we thought we would share with you some of the things we have been getting up to across our services during this time.

Like many of you, life in lockdown for us is quite a change to our usual routines as we all enjoy getting out and about, seeing friends, family and being an active part of our community. For lots of us our regular activities have been cancelled (many of us our missing trips to the local RDA and tea with the ponies), so we have found other things to keep ourselves busy. Some of us decided to take up the offer of an online training course, we spent the day learning how to make felt and meeting new people through our I-pad! 

Unlike the first lockdown, almost a year ago, this time Phoenix is able to stay open. Whilst we have reduced numbers and are now closed on a Wednesday, we have still be able to enjoy ourselves and try new things. We created a new game with our Boccia balls, had lots of music and movement sessions, spent some time in the kitchen and have been busy in our craft rooms. 

Our Garden Project is back in full swing, we spent the early parts of January chopping up Christmas trees and tidying up hedgerows, over grown trees and weeding. On wetter days, we have been playing games or busy in the poly tunnel preparing for spring. We have even had a snow day where we built a snow man! 

Unfortunately our social enterprise is closed through out the current lockdown but whilst we cant welcome guests, we have been busy behind the scenes clearing away from Christmas, and working on our courses which we hope to have accredited in the next few months. 

Merry Christmas from StVs and StGs

As we are just a week away from Christmas day, we would like to wish all of our incredible staff and amazing supporters a very Merry Christmas!

This year we have had to face a number of difficult decisions, including the temporary closures of The Phoenix and our new social enterprise The Portland. Our wonderful staff team have had to adapt and some faced new challenges by moving into different services within the charity. It is with the dedication of our staff team that we have been able to continue being busy, trying out new activites and having lots of fun, so we would like to say a HUGE thank you to each and every staff member, your support has been invaluable.

Our Kitchen Garden Christmas!

What’s better than a Christmas Dinner, with home grown veg? 

Sprouts, Potato’s, Parsnips and Carrots from our ‘kitchen garden’ at the Garden Project – we’ve had a lovely morning cooking and playing games before sitting down together to celebrate 2020 at the garden project!

A huge thank you to our wonderful Gardener – Maddy, who has helped to turn this strange year into one full of fun. We have been busy trying new things, tackling new challenges, growing new vegetables, making new garden accessories and most importantly, making and spending quality time with our friends!

To find out more about our garden project or our other activities please click here. 

Cycling, Coffee and Cake!

This morning at the garden project, we decided we would like to make the most of the dry weather and get out and about! So we got ready for a bike ride and before we knew it we we’re out and about cycling around Cheltenham.  Before too long, we thought it was time to stop for some snacks and that’s when we thought of our friends at The Bayshill! 

Located just under a mile away from our Garden, The Bayshill have just opened up their new coffee shop. With outdoor seating, and some seating in a marquee – its the perfect place for us to stop. They are now serving hot food, soft drinks and homemade cakes, and lots of their drinks and snacks are even on a meal deal. We loved it.

They are now open Monday to Saturday 7.30am till 5pm and Sunday 9am till 4pm, we really recommend you visit – Santa’s Grotto is now open too. For more information, please visit their website. 


Reopening our Social Enterprise

From 3rd December we reopened our social enterprise. We have been busy creating a festive feel inside, and now our breakfast room is home to  beautiful large Christmas tree, our fireplaces are decorated with lots of greenery, berries, oranges and pine cones and the Guest House is lit with fairy lights and candles! 

Our learners are back and busy gaining valuable experience, setting tables, organising laundry and getting rooms ready, all excited for 2021, when we hope to get our course officially kickstarted. To learn more about our social enterprise, click here. 

Why not visit us before Christmas to enjoy Cheltenham. The town has a bustling high street, quiet parks and is lit up with lots of gorgeous Christmas lights! Restaurants have reopened and coffee shops are there for both takeaways and sit ins. To book your stay at The Portland, please visit their website by clicking here

Chocolate Christmas Cake

At the garden project this week we have decided to stay in the warm and make our very own Christmas cake! To bake our chocolate cake – follow our recipe below:


50g cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
3 eggs
4 tbsp milk
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter (softened) 
300g caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line your baking tin with baking paper

  2. Put the cocoa powder and boiling water into a large bowl and mix well to make a paste. 

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and beat again until combined. 

  4. Pour the cake mixture into your baking tin. 

  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin.

To find out more about our activities and The Garden Project, please visit our Phoenix Page, or email us: