Recovery Project Event Update – Derventio Growing Lives: Walking Treasure Hunt – 27 September 2023

Posted on: 27 Oct 2023

On Wednesday 27th September 2023, our partners at Derventio Growing Lives hosted a walking treasure hunt to celebrate Recovery Month and would like to share the below update from their event, for more information please read on below:

Recovery Month 2023 – “No storms, just teacups”

There was trepidation in case Storm Agnes scuppered plans – but they were lucky and Wednesday morning was bright and calm.  As participants gathered, they all had a cup of tea or coffee.  Then, ready to go, everyone was offered a Recovery Month t-shirt, water and fruit or snack bars for the walk, and given a square envelope with strict instructions not to open it until everyone had one.

Three-two-one, Open!  And the treasure hunt was revealed.  There were seven cryptic clues – all in rhyme, with their history – to significant buildings in Ilkeston, and a sheet with six old photos, and the instruction to find the location and take a photo of it as it is now.

Fifteen people – including half a dozen from Stand To – set off from Growing Lives to walk into Ilkeston town centre.  In all, they walked three miles, taking an hour and a half.  The atmosphere was good-humoured and relaxed, with people sharing what they knew.  And everyone had lots of conversations with different people as they walked.

‘It was really good to have a point to the walk,’ one person said, over lunch when weary bones were rested. ‘And for staff too, it’s great to get out of the office, and meet up as a team,’ the Stand To staff said.  ‘We need to look after our wellbeing too.’

‘We had really good conversations, better than we would in an office,’ another said.

Another Stand To person came to share lunch and conversation – with mobility issues, he wasn’t able to walk the treasure hunt, but enjoyed being part of the event.

And we all got a bonus gift.  One of the participants, who is in recovery, had talked to his daughter about the event, and she hand-made a friendship bracelet in green, white and black for each person.  A fitting memento of a day filled with friendship!

Comments from participants were:

  • It got me outdoors.
  • Enjoy the walk. Just what I needed.
  • Enjoyed looking at OLD buildings.
  • Really enjoyed it.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the event!
  • Enjoyed it very much, interesting and nice to meet new people.
  • Great event connecting communities together. Some meaningful conversations. Good to share a meal together. Improve physical and emotional health.
  • Fantastic event, well planned. Very worthwhile. Lovely food.

Participants Recovery Journeys   

“MW started attending Growing Lives just over a year ago, he kept himself to himself and didn’t really join in conversations or activities with the other participants. It was clear he preferred to be outside in the garden and with encouragement from the tutors, has started to learn about plant growth and maintenance.  His hardworking attitude has been integral to the project and with the skills and knowledge he has learned, he has had the confidence to help an elderly neighbour by planning and installing a pond for them and maintaining their garden.

Alongside this, Growing Lives have been able to identify short course training opportunities and MW has recently attended a course on building raised beds, which a year ago he would not have been confident enough to attend. 

His confidence with other participants at the project has grown enormously and he is very well liked by all participants and staff.  The recent Recovery Month Event helped build his confidence further as he took the opportunity to initiate conversations with people from other service providers which was a significant step for him.  Usually, he is wary of meeting new people and isolates himself as he’s afraid new contacts could be a negative influence on his recovery journey.”


“G has been attending Growing Lives for some time on and off after several years of adversity with his mental health. After attending the Recovery Month ‘Scavenger Hunt’ event and hearing other participants journeys and because of the support he had been receiving from the team, he felt comfortable admitting that he regularly binge drank and felt that it was getting out of control.

Supported by Growing Lives he has now made a referral to recovery services and been signposted and encouraged, by the GL team to start an English and Maths course with the local adult education centre, to fill his time more constructively, along with attending the project regularly.  He is now starting to think more positively about his future and wants to find further suitable training in areas of interest to better his chances of future employment.”


If you would like more information on how to attend the Derventio Growing Lives Project, you can find contact information and can read more about the project on the GRID website’s Recovery Projects page here –

Growing Lives - Derventio Housing Trust (

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