Bite aims to promote growing to improve mental health. Getting out in the open air, meeting people, learning new skills, seeing spaces transform as the seasons change and being able to take home freshly grown produce are some of the ingredients that make Bite essential for good mental health.
We run a supported growing project at an allotment in South Manchester, with links to another community garden alongside Growing in the City in East Manchester. People who have experienced or are experiencing mental health problems get involved in planning, planting, growing, weeding and harvesting at the two sites - whatever the weather!
If you have an enthusiasm for growing, like working with people or want to develop or enhance your skills then you could consider volunteering with Bite. You could help support the delivery of the alotment sessions, work one to one with people or help with admin or social media.
If you want to find out how special it is to notice the seasons change and to grow your own veg then get involved in Bite - a really friendly and supportive project.
If you would like to find out more about Bite allotment sessions, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0161 769 5732.
Before getting involved with Bite, Rebecca was in a very bad place. In the midst of a deep and enduring depression she saw no point in even getting out of bed. With no money, food or heating, her bed at least offered her the prospect of staying warm. “I would sleep at will, enabling me to more or less block out thoughts of my reality. I was full of despair and all hope was long lost. When awake I was preoccupied with suicidal thoughts, culminating in actual feeble attempts, but I lacked the energy to achieve success.”
Concerned about her state of mind, Rebecca’s sister Lorraine trawled the internet in the hope of finding her some support. “She sent me many links which I thought pointless in pursuing. However, she badgered me until I did something about it, in the way big sisters often do. Eventually I decided I owed her a debt for her unending support but I was only proved right - most of them were of no use to me whatsoever – they either simply did not interest me or were only open to the young.” Eventually Rebecca stumbled upon Bite. Following a chat with Project Co-Ordinator Rachel, she tentatively agreed to give it a go. “In all honestly, I cannot describe the first session as enjoyable. In fact I was completely numb, unused as I was to getting out of bed and out of nightwear. I was fearful of the outside world, seeing people, and the prospect of talking to others terrified me. Figuratively speaking, Rachel led me by the hand. She exerted no pressure and accepted whatever I was able to give. She also worked happily alongside the volunteers creating a sense of shared purpose. That was exactly what I needed to take me away from those awful dark days.
Since that first session I have flourished. I now look forward to my time at the allotment. I love the fresh air, the sense that I am at one with nature, and the knowledge that in a small way I am making a difference. All these things are helping me to rebuild my shattered self esteem.” An unexpected outcome of Rebecca’s involvement with Bite is that she now has routine in her life, not only on a Tuesday when she attends the allotment, but throughout the entire week. “It has alleviated the symptoms of my deep depression and inspirited me once again to take pride in both myself and my home environment. I am so grateful to my sister for her tireless efforts and compassion shown to me throughout the years and for finding Bite for me. I am also grateful that such a scheme exists - one that offers hope to people like myself. Mostly, I am grateful to Rachel for guiding me through it and taking the fear out of the experience. It has been rewarding and pleasurable and has quite literally changed my life for the better.”