Fruitful woods

People, planet and passion.

What is it?

A mental health and employability project that engages participants in the making and selling of environmentally sustainable produce. The purpose of the project is to support participants in growing their self-belief and confidence while developing skills that can be applied in life and work settings that are not necessarily environmentally-oriented.

Who does the project benefit?

Adults living within or near to Edinburgh who have become socially isolated as a consequence of their mental ill-health.

What are the benefits?

  • Enabling participants to achieve their potential
  • Learning and re-learn life skills
  • Increased physical activity and physical fitness
  • Greater access to future employment
  • Improving the biodiversity and resilience of local woodlands and orchards
  • Engaging activities in a supportive and nurturing environment

What are the activities?

Activities vary with the changing seasons:


  • Woodland clearing and management
  • Processing and seasoning sustainably harvested fuel-wood
  • Creating bespoke rustic furniture from juvenile trees and willow rods
  • Making coppice willow produce such as baskets and sweet pea tripods
  • Restoring pre-loved furniture

Orchard related

  • Orchard management
  • Collecting windfall apples
  • Sustainable harvesting
  • Making jam, chutney and apple juice

When does the project run?

Placements can last for periods up to 12 months, varying from 1 to 3 days per week, 6-7 hours per day.

Project leaders

All sessions are led by Sam, Rachael and Dawn, with support from our Occupational Therapist. Their characters are as varied as their skill-sets: from patient, amicable and scientific; to bright, bubbly and creative - all our Fruitful Woods staff are friendly and supportive.

Included in the project

Plenty of tea and coffee, soup and rolls, not to mention lots of biscuits, so you can be sure of a good lunch!

Where is the project held?

Our project takes place at woodland and orchard sites in and around Edinburgh and at our ‘green hub’ in north Edinburgh. This site includes raised beds, sheltered workshop areas, paths and seating, all created by the Fruitful Woods team.

How do you become a participant?

Access to the project is by referral from mental health practitioners and referrals can be made at any time. Whether you’re a potential participant or a mental health practitioner, you can download our referral form below. You can also download the text from this page so that you can present the information to a potential referrer or participant.

Click here to see the Fruitful Woods flier.

Click here to download the Fruitful Woods Referral Form (pdf).

For more information, contact Rachael, Dawn or Sam on 0131 332 1555 or

The fruits of our labours are a range of pretty amazing products – preserves, chutneys, juices, woodcraft, fuel-wood and furniture that are sold at market to fund the costs of delivering the project.