We are celebrating the benefits of our community allotment for the people we support this National Allotment Week 10th August 2020. When our day-opportunities service, Community Choices Network (CCN) reopens it will once again become a key space. Our allotment is bringing people together, offering skills in its upkeep and maintenance, providing regular physical exercise, producing  seasonal fruit and vegetables and an understanding of the environment we live in. As the lockdown restrictions are lifting in the Coronavirus pandemic people who we support like Susie, Leanne and Sophie have rediscovered their connection with nature with personal allotment visits which in turn boosts their health and wellbeing.

Our allotment belongs to a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century, when people needed the land as their main source of food. Today, our allotment is a place of social interaction. We have been supported over the years in allotment projects with the Prince’s Trust and National Citizen Service (NCS) The Challenge. Working together has created a natural place where the people we support take pride in their contribution.

“I like helping at New Directions. I keep going at the allotment, I enjoy it and I see the plants grow.”

Bob

Customer at CCN

“I’m glad we’ve got an allotment because we can grow what vegetables we like. When I do go down there it is lovely.”

David

Customer at CCN

Our allotment encourages people to be self-sufficient and to eat organic produce at a fraction of the price. Many of the people we support benefit from batch cooking. Food is somehow more delicious when we have grown it ourselves without harmful pesticides too. As a charity we have learned how to make the most of the low-cost, healthy fruit and vegetables the allotment provides in cooking sessions at CCN. Knowing that they are contributing to helping the environment, reducing and reusing waste and learning about the habitat with frogs, insects, hedgehogs and spiders is part of the learning experience.

The allotment requires planning and the intensive physical work keeps people fit and active. The weather can be challenging; however, the sunlight brings feel good factor vitamin D and the people we support benefit from seeing the changing seasons all year round. Maintaining our allotment is an opportunity for the people we support, our staff and volunteers to switch off from technology and come together with a shared goal. If you would like to volunteer your time to help at our allotment when it reopens please do contact us at admin@newdirectionsrugby.org.uk