Allotment Project: Annual Review 2021 – 2022
“The allotment project’s focus is all about small things”
For the people that come to the allotment for mental health support – small acts of kindness, small contributions to the space, and gentle support rather than a major intervention brings about great change.
People often arrive anxious, feeling low and isolated, so our starting point is with grounding and encouraging people to notice and focus on the small things – the feeling of the fuzzy plants in our sensory garden, the smell of our lemon balm, the bees, butterflies and the buds appearing on our flowers – this is an effective way to relax the mind and body, to connect with the space and encourage interest. Then we share the purpose of our space – to grow food and sustain our food projects – and we thank people for coming because everything they do whilst with us, will positively impact the result –the growing of food which contributes to the 23,797 meals and recipe bags produced during the year.
People leave us feeling better. They tell us that they have a greater sense of purpose, improved wellbeing and often go on to try our other activities, or become volunteers because they have not only passively enjoyed our garden, but they have actively contributed to our charity’s work.
Everyone who attends the allotment has a small stake in the garden’s outcome and that is an integral part of the difference we make.
Without each volunteer and each person – the allotment, our food supply and our food projects would not exist at all.
Callum’s experiences of the connection with our Food For All Team sums it up.
Callum supported the Breakfast Project during the pandemic and then the food team over Christmas. He is now an allotment volunteer. He is a chef, a carer for his mum and grew up in the care system. He struggles to manage stress and worry and he comes to the allotment to relax.
“It is like a little oasis in the city, everyone is so quiet and laid back. I have met really kind, helpful people and I feel like I am building a network. Growing up I was expected to talk to people I had just met about really difficult stuff. At the allotment, you don’t have to talk about anything but the people there are open and you build up trust, so I know I could talk to them if I needed to.”
Callum has learned lots of new skills at the plot and led activities at an event. He is currently being supported to complete a carer’s assessment and explore opportunities to change career.
Find out more about our allotment.