Real Happiness

Happiness Programmes

The Museum also supports the surrounding community with projects and schemes to promote a more socially sustainable environment, as do many other organisations in villages and towns. Here are a few examples of our work and other work going on in Suffolk.

The Work Based Learning Programme (WBLP)

Work Based Learning-Hurdle makeing
Work Based Learning-Hurdle makeing
The WBLP has been running at the museum since 2008. It aims to get long term unemployed people back into work or education through an eight week programme of activities and training courses. Those who attend work a four day week, gaining certificates in first aid and fire safety, as well as carrying out projects such as the creation of an information point near the museum entrance. Since it started the programme has helped over 100 people, 13 of whom are now in full-time work and 75% in further education or volunteering.

The Museum as a Social Enterprise

Working in the gardens
Working in the gardens
In 2008 the museum started its own social enterprise to create a space in which people with learning difficulties or other disabilities could learn, experience and enjoy new tasks. We also wanted those involved to take pride in their achievements. The social enterprise created and sold hanging baskets and Christmas trees, any profit from which went back into the social enterprise. In 2010 MEAL became one of the first museums in the country to gain the Social Enterprise Mark which means that the entire museum is now run as a social enterprise.

As part of this

    • Suffolk Community Mental Health Team who use MEAL’s walled garden to create a programme of work for adults with mental health problems. They use gardening as a form of therapy that provides their users with a sense of achievement and pride.
    • The YMCA bring young people to the museum to gain experience in the range of skills needed to maintain the museum site.
    • Therapeutic placements offer individuals with specific support needs an alternative to traditional day care services.

This exhibition is part of a wider sustainability project delivered through the Rural Museums East Partnership. It is funded by Renaissance East of England.

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