New Year, new outcomes.

Together with our staff teams we set outcomes. Outcomes are goals we would like to achieve. We break them down so we can work towards them in a way that works for us. We always talk about what we would like to work towards next, and set new outcomes (big or small) every few weeks. 

But, like everyone else  New Year is the perfect time for us to begin planning what we want to do, and how we’re going to do it in 2024. 

This week, some of us thought we would share our outcomes on our blog…


” I wan’t to keep doing what I am doing. We have done quite a lot and gone to lots of places. We are going to Tewkesbury in the Spring, [my goal] is to keep going to places and meeting my friends.”


“Go to my job every week with Karen. Can I get my trike so I can ride it?”


“More cooking. I’d like to do it [cookery course] again and get new recipes. Go to choir and disco”

Our Holiday Blog

At the end of June, we were fortunate enough to be gifted a holiday by Cheltenham Lions. We spent the week in Burnham on Sea, and because we had such a wonderful time we decided to write a small blog post to share what we got up to.

We had a long walk on the beach

We enjoyed a meal out.

On the greyest day, we headed to the arcade and played lots of games. 

And another walk on the beach!

We love animals, so we spent an afternoon at the local farm park feeding the goats.

We spent time mooching in the shops

And stopped to buy a drink and have some lunch.

At the end of our busy days, we’d snuggle down in the caravan, switch our tele on and relax!

Our Chicken Eggs

Since we rescued our hens, Paula, Thelma, Deirdre and Anne have made the Garden Project their home. Every day we check their coop and are treated to delicious fresh eggs. We thought we would share two of our favourite ways to cook these eggs with you all. 

We have made recipe cards to help you cook fried eggs or an omelette, to download or print these out, please click below:

If you’d like to try some of our fresh eggs, please pop in. We sell six eggs for £1.50, these donations help us to buy the chickens their feed and bedding.

Meeting James Moore

A few weeks ago, the wonderful actor James Moore came to visit us at Phoenix. We had a really lovey afternoon, chatting all things Emmerdale, what its like to watch yourself back on TV, top tips, summer holiday plans and much more. 

A big thank you to James for taking time out of his busy schedule to come and meet us.

If you’d like to follow James on social media, use his tag @JamesMooreActor 

A night at the football

Last night we travelled to Nailsworth, to watch our favourite football team Forest Green Rovers in their match against Leyton Orient.


We arrived in Nailsworth at Forest Green’s New Lawn Stadium, parked the car and walked over to the ticket office to collect our tickets.



We were early, so headed to the bar for a drink.



Kick off was at 7.45pm, so we headed out into the stands to find our seats and get comfy ready to watch the football.


At half time, Forest Green were one nil up – so we headed to the bar for another drink and some chips and gravy! 

The second half was much more exciting, with FGR scoring another goal – winning the game 2nil. 



After a fantastic evening, we headed home cheering We Are FGR!

We had a great time and can’t wait to visit again soon.

More than just your ordinary Guest House

Since we opened the doors of our Social Enterprise, The Portland Guest House in early 2020, we’ve been working through the pandemic to provide opportunities to those in our local community who need a little extra support to find paid work.
With the support from the Institute of Hospitality who endorsed our in-house accessible training course, our learners began their journey to receive recognised qualifications.
Now, just under 2 years on, and despite the delays COVID threw our way, our first students are now beginning to progress into other opportunities with local hospitality venues.
Cheltenham’s Holiday Inn will be welcoming our students to support their breakfast and housekeeping teams!

Makaton Advent Calendar

This year, our Phoenix team wanted to teach us all, more about Makaton – so tomorrow, we’re launching our online, Makaton advent calendar: 25 clips and photos, one for every day of advent – teaching you how to sign something related to the festive season: so keep your eyes peeled!

Day One

It is Day 1 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, to kick off our countdown, we thought we’d teach you how to sign EXCITED.

To sign excited, use both hands (one above the other) and as you bring one hand up, take the other down a few times..

It’s Day 2 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, and today’s sign is FAMILY.

To sign family – finger spell the letter F, by pairing your index and middle fingers together, on both hands, placing your right fingers on top of your left fingers, then move your hands clockwise in a circle in front of your body.

Day Two

Day Three

It’s Day 3 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, and today’s sign is SLEIGH

To sign sleigh – make two fists, and pull both arms towards your body then push them back out

It’s Day 4 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, and today’s sign is SLEEP

To sign sleep, bring your hand up to your face, then close your eyes.

Day Four

Day Five

It’s Day 5 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, and today’s sign is HAPPY

To sign happy, make a L shape with your hand, thumb up to the sky. Then using your other hand brush down the finger and up your thumb,

It’s Day 6 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, and today’s sign is FRIENDS

To sign friends, shake hands with yourself

Day Six

Day Seven

It is day 7 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, today’s sign is FATHER CHRISTMAS.
To sign Father Christmas, you need to stroke your long beard, by making a V shape with your finger and thumb, putting this to your chin and pulling it down towards your chest. You then need to sling your sack over one of your shoulders, so make a fist and pretend to throw a bag over your shoulder – just like Father Christmas would.

It is day 8 of our Makaton Advent Calendar and today, we’re signing STAR.

To sign star, raise both hands and make small fists then release your fingers and make a twinkling

Day Eight

Day Nine

Day 9 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, today’s sign is CHRISTMAS CAKE.

To sign Christmas Cake, it it three different movements

Today in our Makaton Advent Calendar we’re signing FAIRY.

To sign fairy, put both hands out either side of your body, and flap them like wings!

Day Ten

Day Eleven

Today’s sign in our Makaton Advent Calendar is PRESENTS,

To sign present, imagine tying a bow around an imaginary box. On both hands, pinch your index finger and thumb together. Then put both hands together before pulling them apart( east and west), back together again and then apart (North and south).

It is day 12, with just 12 more sleeps we’ve signed CHRISTMAS TREE.

To sign Christmas Tree use both hands to draw triangles in front of you – making the traditional Christmas tree shape.

Day Twelve

Day Thirteen

On Day 13 of our Makaton advent calendar, we’re signing SNOW MAN

To sign Snow Man, make the sign for snow by shaking both hands down from your chest to your stomach , then sign man by making a V shape with your thumb and index finger, putting them to your chin and pulling them down towards your chest!

It is Day 14 and only 10 more days until Christmas Eve. Today’s word is REINDEER. .

To sign reindeer spread you fingers out, then bring both hands up to your head, touch your thumbs on your temples then stretch out your arms.

Day Fourteen

Day Fifteen

Today’s sign in Angel

To sign angle make a cross with both hands, then flap each hand like a pair of wings.

It is Day 16 of our Makaton Advent Calendar, today we’re teaching you to sign TURKEY. To sign turkey, use one hand. On the hand put down / bend down your little and ring finger, leaving your middle finger, index finger and thumb up. Turn your hand upside down so your fingers are pointing to the floor. Bring this hand up to the chin, wiggle your thumb and fingers – that makes a sign similar to a Turkey’s wobbly neck..

Day Sixteen

Day Seventeen

It is day 17 and today our Makaton sign is Stable, Stable is in two parts, to sign it you need to use both hands – on one hand pair your index and middle finger together, folding the rest down – turn this hand on its side. Using the other hand make a V shape with your index and middle finger – then sit these fingers on top of your other hand. That is the sign for Horse. Then to sign the rest of stable – use both hands to make a roof by meeting the hands together at the finger tips.

Cluckingham Palace

Nestled in the walled gardens of one of our beautiful supported living properties, lives the garden project and now our very own chicken coop. 

Over the past few years, the garden project has developed into a staple activity, providing regular opportunities to get outdoors, learn new skills and face new challenges. Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time making new things and repairing old broken things. We’ve had days out exploring our local country side and really benefitted from being outside, learning about nature, healthy eating and sustainability. 

The Garden Project is a place for both physical and mental wellbeing, relaxation and a place to recharge.  

Over the last year, the garden project became a lifeline, when all other activities we’re closed: we were open to ensure those who needed us most, could gain that support in a safe, outdoor environment. 

Looking forward, the charity has exciting projects on the horizon. Our Garden Project will soon be home to four rescue hens. Bringing our brood to the garden, is not a decision made lightly. We’ve had months of discussions, planning and research and believe now is the chance to face a new challenge, learn a lot more and provide a safe home to these lovely rescue hens. 

Before we can bring the brood home, we’ve had to make a suitable coop for them to live in. This has taken a few weeks, from design to creation, but now stands proudly in an area of our garden we always struggled to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers. 

Click through the gallery below to see how we made our chicken coop, and pop back over the coming weeks to see the final product and we shall share with you when our rescue hens move in. 


Thanks to the wonderful Cheltenham Lions Club, we have just enjoyed a week long holiday in Burnham-on-Sea. Our staycation was packed full of fun.

We spent lots of time out and about, visiting new places, new restaurants and pubs and trying our luck in the arcade. We took the bus to Weston-super-Mare. Here we explored the Grand Pier, the arcade and had lunch out. 

Through out our holiday we collected enough tickets in the arcade to trade them in for two Spider Man mugs! 

The holiday was full of adventure, with trips on the Ferris wheel, bowling, coffee and cake out, dancing in the caravan and drinking a beer in the pub.

A special thank you to Cheltenham Lions Club who kindly donated the caravan holiday, and to Gerry Mitchell who helped organise it all. We had a really fantastic time.  If you’d like to find out more about Cheltenham Lions Club, please click here

Its National Recycling Week…

National Recycling Week, happens every year to help us celebrate the benefits of recycling and learn more about recycling. At St V’s and St G’s we’re trying to boost our recycling efforts. Our Garden Project champions recycling. Maddy and his team reuse, recycle and repurpose whatever they can. They hardly ever buy new and the poly tunnel is an Aladdin’s cave of bits and pieces that might be useful for this or that. We’re always recycling materials to make new things, repair old broken things or repurpose and reinvent.  Here, one mans rubbish really is another mans treasure. 

To celebrate National Recycling Week, we’d like to share with you some of the things that we have made at The Garden Project, so you can see just how creative recycling can be.

Skateboards into games

We had an old skate board which needed a lot of TLC, so instead of binning it – we made a game out of the wheels: The Truck Wheel Game. 

Pallets into a turbo trainer

On our mission to get fit, we worked to create our very own turbo trainer so we could cycle, without leaving the comfort of our own garden!

Cupboard doors into shelves

We always need shelves, who doesn’t? So when we decorated our bedrooms we used an old cupboard door to make some new shelves. 

T-shirts into corner flags

The garden is our sports ground, we couldn’t run our Well Close FC (our in house tiny team who are always up for a kick about) football games with out corner flags so we made some out of an old blue t-shirt. 

Tables into benches

Our CEO had a coffee table that she no longer needed, but she had always wanted a garden bench: so we made one!

Records into rooves

We had lots of duplicate records, but instead of throwing them away: we wanted to do something with them. But what can you do with a vinyl record? We made lots of hanging bird feeders, but to stop the food getting wet: we used our records as rooves.

Left overs into rooms

Since the garden opened we’ve collected lots of bits and pieces: bits of rope, left over records, the odd broken brick and much more. During a spring clear out we came up with  a plan to make use of our leftovers. We made our own bug hotel, with lots of  different rooms, which sits proudly in our small wooded area.

Cans into trophies

We love sports, from football to basket ball, our lawn is home to lots of games. We’ve even hosted our own basket ball tournament and for that, we needed a trophy. So we rummaged through recycling, and used scraps of wood to make the basket ball and a can to label the trophy.

Canvas into a screen

Who doesn’t love a big screen? When the pandemic hit, we lost touch with some of our friends, to celebrate the restrictions lifting we hosted an outdoor cinema night. We cleaned up and stretched a bit of canvas that we had left over and created our much loved screen.

Scraps to symbols

Using lots of left over scraps of wood and a bicycle wheel rim, we made our very own Garden Project symbol/logo. It now sits above our small waterfal, and we love it. 

We’re always recycling, being creative and starting new projects. If you’d like to join us at The Garden Project, or find our more please visit our Garden Project Page using the button below.