Trust Links

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Trust Links is Southend’s local, independent charity for wellbeing

Trust Links works across the community with schools, youth groups, carers and social care professionals

Trust Links offers support to carers through a variety of activities and advice

Welcome to Trust Links

Trust Links is Southend’s charity for wellbeing and mental health support. Through our Growing Together Gardens in Westcliff, Shoeburyness and our new site in Thundersley, we offer therapeutic gardening and other services to help people through difficult times and find a path to recovery. But we also do so much more. Find out about our orchard, our work with schools and young people, how you can get involved and the many events we run through the year.

Trust Links annual Apple Day at St Laurence Orchard saw more than 100 people go scrumping!

All Apple iPhones were set aside as children took part in crushing apples and turning them into juice through the old fashioned Apple press, while adults got to taste up to 34 different varieties of fruit.
The orchard was established by soldiers returning from WWI and every year it's open to the public to gather windfalls and pick whatever apples they want.
Chief Executive Matt King said; "we raised £300 and had the support of volunteers, South East Essex Organic Gardeners, Sainsburys staff who ran a tombola, Southend in Transition, The Dormouse Society and our own beekeeper."
Honey from the orchard, hot donuts and a bbq were also available.
To take part in the quarterly St Laurence Orchard Working parties email or check out TrustLinksLtd on Facebook

 Walking Together raises £3,000 for Trust Links

Saturday September 17 saw 40 people take part in the annual Walking Together fundraiser for Trust Links. Starting at the Growing Together Shoeburyness garden with a warm up session it took around two hours for everyone to reach the mid-way point at Growing Together Westcliff where refreshments were waiting. Sainsbury’s Westcliff supplied no end of pastries as it has voted Trust Links its local charity for the year and from here everyone set off along Prittlewell Brook to Belfairs Woods. At around 1.30 the first people through the gate, Vicky Loftus of Leigh on Sea and Jen Smith from Southend were the first to complete the entire 12 mile walk. Those taking part included entire families, supporters of those with mental health issues, members, staff and even the Chief Executive Matt King who was joined at Westcliff by Castle Point Borough Council Leader Cllr Colin Riley. Cllr Riley and his collegue Cllr Tom Skipp said: "It’s a delight to take part in something so fantastic. We at Castle Point are keen supporters of Trust Links which now has its third garden just behind the council offices. The therapeutic gardens are open to all and offer a real gem for everyone in the local community to use.
Matt King added: "This is our big annual fundraiser and I’m just so pleased that so many people continue to sign up and get their walking boots on every year. The weather has been ideal for walking and I just want to thank everyone who took part and make this possible year on year.”
It’s estimated that the total raised will exceed last year’s £3,000 and donations can still be made at



 Trust Links launches its own Honey limited edition

It’s one of the most sought after limited editions launched each year – the Trust Links Growing Together Westcliff honey.
Made from the honey produced at the three beehives at the garden in Fairfax Drive, the 1lb pots are highly sought after.
Essex Bees maintain the hives during the year with Trust Links beekeeper Richard Golding monitoring the busy bees and drawing out the honey from the combs.
It’s rich and clear and tastes of the wild flowers and vegetables grown on the site. Chief Executive Matthew King said, "It’s a bumper year for our honey which always sells out very quickly and it’s easy to see why as it tastes delicious. Credit to Richard for all his hard work and to the bees of course.”
The honey pots cost £6 each but there are only just over 40 pots available with half already sold.
Local honey direct from the area in which you live is said to help alleviate allergies and hayfever if taken in small daily doses..

 Westcliff gardens planning expansion

From the Evening Echo August 17th:-


Plans- Growing Together Gardens
A MENTAL health charity is set to double the size of its therapeutic community gardens with ambitious new plans.
Trust Links runs the Growing Together gardens in Fairfax Drive, Westcliff, where people can come to relax and learn new skills in horticulture. The charity has now applied to demolish several outbuildings on the site, creating up to 40 sq m of new gardening space.
A planning statement by chartered architect TC Matthew said the new designs would allow the gardens to benefit even more people.
It said: "In recent years it (Trust Links) has transformed the application site from disused and overgrown allotments into a beautiful community garden producing flowers, fruit and vegetables, and provides a place for courses, meeting new people, sharing experiences and working towards qualifications.
"This consolidation project will provide a net gain of open space on this green interface site, increasing the market garden area by some 40m2.”
It added: "The training centre side extension will allow relocation of the mess facility from a remote outbuilding to a central location by the kitchen, as well as internal remodelling for a new secure entrance lobby, improved welfare facilities and more private meeting and interview rooms.”
The development site is on the north west of the gardens, along Prittlewell Chase.
Six demountable buildings will be removed as part of the plans and replaced by a single storey extension to the main training centre building and two new demountable buildings.
The changes will make the gardens more publicly accessible by removing gates that are currently positioned between the buildings.
Since it was established in 2000 the Growing Together Garden in Westcliff has helped hundreds of people work through their problems and develop new skills.
The site is home to chickens that are looked after by members, polytunnels for bringing on young plants, a log cabin for training or drinking tea, an arbour for relaxation and a training room for courses and classes.
Members also eat and volunteer in the on-site kitchen.
The garden has won Southend in Bloom and Anglia in Bloom awards in the past.
Trust Links also has gardens in Shoebury and Thundersley.
There is a shop at the Westcliff site where the public can buy fruit and vegetables from 9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.
This will also be improved by the plans. The plans can be viewed at

 More videos added!

More 'Heritage' videos added to our site; Part 6 - Trees here, and Part 7 - Bees here.
And a new GT Shoebury video here

Growing Together Thundersley launched by Essex County Chairman

Trust Links Growing Together Thundersley is officially open after the Chairman of Essex County Council Cllr John Aldridge cut the ribbon on Friday July 22nd.
Cllr Aldridge said: "I am so impressed to see how a waste piece of ground has been turned into an area of wide pathways, raised beds and tranquillity for the community to enjoy. So many people will benefit from the work that Trust Links does providing therapeutic gardening for those with mental and physical illness and carers who just need bit of a break. Increasingly people are facing challenges in their lives and Trust Links gardens offer respite and that bit of peace and quiet that everyone needs at some point.”




 Southend Sainsbury's Southend names Trust Links as their new Local Charity of the Year

FOLLOWING an online and in-store customer vote, Sainsbury’s Southend has announced that Trust Links will be the store’s new Local Charity of the Year for 2016 - 2017.
Trust Links provides support to people experiencing mental health problems through therapeutic gardening. Trust Links offers a quiet place to think and relax and provides access to new skills in horticulture, leading to job opportunities.
This year’s Local Charity scheme began at the end of May, when colleagues shortlisted a maximum of three charities to be put forward to the customer vote. Trust Links received the most votes and will receive a year’s worth of fundraising and awareness-raising from the store.
To celebrate the announcement, a launch day will take place at the Southend store on Tuesday August 2. Customers will get the chance to meet representatives from the charity and learn more about the work they do.
Matt King from Trust Links said: "We’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.
"Becoming Sainsbury’s Southend Local Charity of the Year will make a huge difference to our charity. We’re looking forward to the partnership and working closely with the colleagues at the Southend store.”
Shaun Gadsby, store manager at Sainsbury’s Southend added: "I’d like to say congratulations to Trust Links.
"It’s great to be working with a new charity this year. My colleagues are really excited about the partnership.”
The Local Charity scheme is now in its eighth year. The scheme has raised over £11 million to support local charities since 2009.

 Trust Links selected for Adventure Islands 40th anniversary benefit charity giveaway

Trust Links is honoured to be chosen as one of Adventure Island’s charities celebrating the theme park’s 40th anniversary.
The company has generously offered all those who buy a wristband at the park during July,  the chance for one of eight charities to get up to £3,000.
 Trust Links is one of those charities nominated to benefit and is asking visitors to the park to consider voting for its therapeutic garden projects at Shoeburyness, Westcliff and Thundersley. Everyone that buys a wristband gets a token which they can place in favour of their chosen charity. The charity that gets the most tokens will receive £3,000 but even the one that gets the least still stands to receive £250.
 Trust Links Chief Executive Matt King said: "We are thrilled that Adventure Island has included us in this great charity drive. Everyone loves the theme park including our members and volunteers so the idea that we can all go and get the added bonus of raising funds is most welcome.”
Trust Links will be running updates on how it’s Adventure Island pot is filling up with tokens on its facebook page here

Growing Together Shoeburyness gets Kids graffiti walls – legitimately!

School kids are being encouraged to graffiti walls at Growing Together Shoeburyness under a special art scheme overseen by local artist John Bulley.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of July and the children meet with John every Monday to continue the decorative theme.
Mr Bulley said: "I first met the Growing Together project some years ago when we were getting kids to do a community project and the idea of creating a chill out area on a bit of wasteland at the Fairfax Drive Westcliff garden came about. I loved the charity and what it was doing.”
Trust Links is a grounded local charity offering three therapeutic gardens at Westcliff, Shoeburyness and from next month Thundersley where people can go and relax, take a break, buy fresh organically grown produce or become a member for more specialist mental health support across the age groups.
Chief Executive Matt King said: "We had quite a bit of vandalism at Growing Together Shoeburyness and we knew that there wasn’t much for young people to do that attracts their age group in the area so this was an ideal project. They all get a chance to contribute at whatever level and so they all get something out of it. Being outside on the site is a great leveller and gives young people the chance to really express themselves and let’s be honest, they all love a chance to graffiti. ”
Kids get to graffiti the range of cabins on the site with the key words "Growing Together Shoeburyness” and can experiment with colours and designs. Although the project is halfway through now, it is still open to any young person to join in and have a go and get tips from John who says; "It’s all about trust. I’m just a great big fat bald bloke with a scar on my face so I am quite intimidating, so I need to prove to the kids that they can trust me. I get far more back from the job than I give, I know that sounds quite cheesy but it’s true. The kids at Growing Together Shoeburyness are lovely and straight up – they are all really keen and want to do it.”
John Bulley believes there’s a reason why children’s art is so inspiring and original, "Kids are more open and not hampered by ideas of what’s good or bad. They have come up with amazing ideas and there’s something really nice about their lack of fear – they just do it. They haven’t learnt the political correctness of life that adults have. Adults often get quite embarrassed about doing art but there’s a simple truth to children, they call a spade a spade.”
The project is open every Monday from 4pm and even though its already underway any child aged 10-15 who would like to pop along and take part is more than welcome.



Refer someone to Trust Links

If you or someone you care for is experiencing mental health worries, we may be able to help. Contact us on 01702 213134, email us on or call in to the Westcliff site to talk to one of our staff. Or ask your healthcare provider to refer you or them to us.

Is Trust Links for me?

Growing Together can offer the opportunity to meet new friends, learn new skills, undertake training, gain qualifications and find employment. Carers Breakthrough can support those that care for people with mental health problems in Southend borough through counselling, advice, information and support groups.


Christmas Fayre
Sat 26th Nov 2016

Latest News

Apple Day 2016
Sat 8th Oct 2016

Carers BreakthroughCarers Breakthrough is a project for any adult carer of somebody experiencing mental health problems. The scheme is open to anybody who is a resident in the borough of Southend-on-Sea.

Growing Together

We have three Growing Together community gardens in south east Essex encouraging socialisation, building confidence, providing education and training and growing communities, whilst transforming empty and overgrown plots of land into beautiful and productive gardens