October sees the end of our fantastic Allotment Project. Running from March, throughout the summer months, until the weather changes in October, our allotment in St Ann’s provides an outdoor space for our service users to cultivate and grow their own plants and vegetables. The project also allows participants to explore new skills such as working in a team, decision making and problem solving.
The allotment project is delivered by two support workers and two volunteers and sessions run on two mornings a week where, on average, eight people attend each session. Their ages range from early twenties to mid sixties. The Allotment gives people a sense of purpose, provides new skills and takes their mind of their problems.
During the last seven months the group has learnt about the importance of preparing growing beds, weeding, digging over, pricking out seedlings and planning what to plant once the last of the frost had been. They have also discovered the importance of and how to look after a pond correctly. They have grown courgettes, beetroot, tomatoes, spinach plants, leeks, potatoes (to name a few!). They have also grown and made lavender bags and picked blackberries and also enjoyed many cups of tea sheltering from the rain in their ‘garden house’ (the shed!). The group also sought inspiration on their trips to Attenbrough Nature Reserve, Stonebridge City Farm and the Nottingham Contemporary!
Whilst the allotment project draws to a close for 2019, the planning for 2020 is already underway. To sustain and upgrade the allotment, the group has decided that we would like a compost toilet. There are also plans for a peace garden.
The feedback we have received from the beneficiaries emphasises the positivie impact the project has on participants lives. Comments include:
“It helps with my physical and mental health.”
It is nice that Emmanuel House has a place like this for me to come too. The staff treat me with respect.”
“I see the Allotment as therapy as it gets me out of the house.”
“I enjoy learning about new things and I am able to get out away from bad situations.”
We look forward to another great allotment season in 2020!