A dilapidated garage at Fletching which had a tree growing through the roof when first visited by Jolene Payne is now a thriving centre accommodating therapy and craft groups.
Jolene is a psychotherapist and was looking for a new base when she was invited to see the tumbledown building. She immediately saw its potential, mainly because of a wooden hay feeder integrated into one of the walls.
“That will be where all my ladies’ blankets will go,” she said at the time and sure enough that’s where they are now, ready for her psychotherapy clients to wrap up warm during their visits.
Jolene said converting the barn wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of help from family, including her husband Mark, and their two boys Kayden, nine, and Ebbon, seven, and friends.
“It took us about six months to turn it into something habitable,” she said. The owner raised the floor to overcome the problem of a stream running next to the back door and put windows in too.
The rest of the work was done by Jolene’s team and she has utilised her recycling skills to furnish what is now a cosy barn, complete with wood burning stove. The only thing new in the building is a carpet.
Now Jolene, who lives with her family in Newick, sees her psychotherapy clients there and is running creative and therapeutic workshops too.
The barn is known as Earthed in Fletching – A place to come home to yourself.
She is particularly pleased to be bringing people together to socialise as part of their therapy. “We have become very separated as a human race, some of us don’t even know our neighbours, and this is a way of meeting others in a safe facilitated environment.”
Jolene is a keen crafter herself and runs recycled craft groups which are particularly good for people who criticise themselves saying ‘I am not creative’, ‘I can’t do that’, or ‘It is too expensive’.
“This is not about the products that we make. This is about enjoying yourself, playing and having fun transforming things other people don’t want any more into something beautiful,” said Jolene.
She said there was a different theme each month. This month, for example, it is jewellery or beads, and Jolene provides a number of projects which people can get involved in or they can rummage through all the other craft items she has at the barn and create something from scratch.
The sessions cost £30 for a day, or if participants bring along a carrier bag of their own contributions – buttons, brightly coloured and patterned clothes, pillow cases, jewellery, children’s picture books – then the charge is reduced to £25.
There are women’s groups too and a men’s group, which will be held outside around a camp fire, is to be launched soon.