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The People behind the Place – Our Wonderful Dutch Barn

We live by a barn

With a pond and some trees

And some honey bees’ hives at the back

Hear the ring of the bees

On a warm, cool breeze

There’s a sing you can put in your sack

Wishing you were there

Sing sing sing

By Stephen Graham

Go beyond the iron arch reading ‘Dutch Barn’ and you’ll find a secluded sanctuary where you can leave your troubles behind at the gates.

For our Dutch Barn, located in Garston, is a piece of land that will give you peace of mind.

Rain or shine the Barn offers a truly atmospheric experience. From the splendour of summer to the colder, rainy days which sees soup being made from scratch in the warmth inside.

On entry look to your right and there is a manmade pond teeming with tadpoles. Up ahead is the Dutch Barn itself with a timber exterior and long windows which gives you a good look of what goes on inside.

Inside offers a sheltered space for a range of creative activities, including glass painting, yoga, singing, mental health courses and more.

The Dutch Barn is a charming and welcoming space, with colourful bunting, bee themed art and cushioned chairs. It is the perfect place to fulfil creative passions, learn new life skills and connect with nature.

Behind the Dutch Barn is buzzing. Oh, I do mean quite literally. We have several beehives stowed behind the Dutch Barn which are well attended by our Bee Guardians, a very noble title for a very important role.

Look left to our PSS Dutch Barn is Making Days: our PSS service for adults in Liverpool with learning disabilities. Here they look after their own vibrant plot with budding flowers and gardening patches.

This leads us on to our polytunnels where our PSS gardening team show off their green fingered skills. Inside these tunnels there is plenty of produce. Really, we have quite a list! Our garden keepers are harvesting tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, broccoli, onions, peppers and ginger. All this produce will be chopped and cooked in one of our culinary classes, showing how resourceful and talented our Dutch Barn crew really are.

For behind every place is the people. Our dedicated gardeners are ready to don the wellies rain or shine. They are the reason the Dutch Barn’s lawn is neatly mowed, why each plant pot expresses colour from an array of flowers including primroses, marigolds, cosmos and petunias.

Not forgetting our wildlife enthusiasts, from bird tables to settling in our new froggy residents the Dutch Barn is refuge for all creatures great and small. Located next to the pond water is even a camera to capture any animal antics day and night. Eagle eyed visitors might even spot a darting squirrel or hear the drumming sound of a woodpecker (if you’re lucky!)

Our bee guardians tend and nurture our bees all year round, which is an impressive feat when you realise how active our little hive occupants can be. Our Bee Guardians will be able to tell you first hand why bees swarm and how to extract the most delicious honey from its comb.

From sweet honey to the sweet sound of elevating music, our Sing! Sing! Sing! group know how to raise a song from its roots. This community choir - led by the talented tutor Mersey - congregates every Thursday afternoon to sing a string of instantly recognisable classics.

The singing group pride themselves on being a warm and friendly group, with wannabe warblers of any ability always welcome into the fold.

PSS Dutch Barn undoubtedly benefits from all the energy, effort and dedication from everyone who attends. The land thrives from the dedication our valued groups bestow upon it and, in return, the Dutch Barn provides that much needed escapism from the chaos of day to day life.

Peter, our resident chef, bee guardian and peer supporter all rolled into one said: “I love to volunteer at the barn. This place saved my life in 2019 and continues to save me every day.

“I get to combine my creative and scientific side in cooking and, during this cost of living crisis, get to provide people with new skills, where we eat together as friends and take some delicious food home.”

One of our volunteers who struggles with anxiety noted that, when at the Dutch Barn, they haven’t ever experienced a panic attack. Another mentioned how the Dutch Barn eases their nerves when they’ve had a tough day.

‘Being here always lifts my spirits,’ says Caron, a member of Sing! Sing! Sing! ‘It’s a tranquil oasis in the middle of Garston.’

Richard, another member of the choir agrees, adding ‘it’s a refuge to escape to.’

Another PSS member described themselves as ‘speechless at the beauty’ of the Dutch Barn, quipping that they ‘never wanted to leave’.

Hearing such wonderful feedback is proof in the pudding that the right environment can bring out the very best in people. It isn’t a surprise, with such beautiful surroundings, that the Dutch Barn can do just that.

At PSS, we offer up our Wellbeing Centres as somewhere you can breathe easy and learn and grow at your own pace.

The Dutch Barn, alongside the Avenue based in Belle Vale and the Umbrella in Liverpool City Centre serves as a safe haven from the chaos of everyday life.

If you’d like to find out more about the Dutch Barn or any of our Wellbeing Centres please tel 0151 708 0415 or get in touch via email at:

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