We meet every Thursday at the Growing Rosendale community building, where we plan our sessions, then head to the top of the hill to cultivate our plot. We began in April 2012 with 5 core members and 2 part time members, which is how it has stayed throughout the year. Many members had never gardened before, or knew what certain vegetables looked like.
The key benefits have been; increased independence, exercise, cognition and social interaction. The group has accomplished this with a strong focus on ensuring everyone gives their input on the planting design of the space and people grow the foods they want to. The group work hard together and their confidence as a team to grow things and share ideas has developed extraordinarily well, sometimes socialising outside the project with one another.
A quote from one member of the project: "If I had the option I would come here more often. I would recommend coming to the allotment and having a go at planting, its very interesting" LH, 45.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
We are able to provide a peaceful, safe and consistent outdoor environment which allows the chance to get away from urban London to learn about plants, soil, nature, and how the food we eat is grown.
This benefits the people attending the course in numerous ways; physical fitness, an understanding of nature and food growing, benefits to mental well being by watching plants grow, nurturing them and appreciating them for their produce.
We are also linking with other projects, such as providing vegetables for the local 'Come Dine With Me' cooking project, which four members of the gardening project also attend, meaning they can grow the vegetables, prepare, cook and eat them, most completing this important process for the first time, learning from experienced staff every step of the way.
There are not enough gardening groups that cater for people with learning disabilities in the area, making this project an important part of the community.
Steps to get it done:
We are one part of the outreach work the Rathbone Society, who also run various activities in the local area with groups to benefit local people within Lambeth with their social skills, mental and physical health, always with a view to the person becoming more independent in the activity, their own life, and in the community.
We are currently planning what to plant for next year and taking some time out from the allotment to visit other community groups to see how they are run and visit some of the farms, gardens and museums around London to learn about other ways of interacting and working with nature, and to get further idea's for our project.
As a group we have grown together in the past year and the benefits are easy to see. We are more social, give more idea's to the project, and are already looking forward to getting back onto the allotment when the weather settles and the site becomes less slippery and difficult to work on.
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