National allotments week

National allotments week Image

As this week is National Allotments week, we wanted to share with you what’s been happening lately.

The Ongo allotment is a wonderfully safe environment and biodiverse area. It gives volunteers the opportunity to join John Cavill, our Growing & Learning Project Manager in various activities.

John Cavill said: “I am responsible for managing the project, teaching and advising volunteers on an eight-week programme.

“I help small groups of volunteers to work together to form new friendships and improve social skills. This helps to develop better confidence and life experiences which in turn can help them find employment.

“We grow a variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers, some of which will then be used at The Arc. The allotment is a vibrant environment that improves well-being, general health and boosts self-esteem.”

Recently five students from John Leggott with learning disabilities were able to enjoy a work placement. For two days a week until the end of July, the teenagers learnt a range of skills, gained valuable experience and increased their wellbeing.

Tom Whieldon, one of the students from John Leggott College, said: “I feel more confident now in myself than I did before, and it’s certainly given me experience that will help in the future.”

Another great story is about a volunteer called Alex Dent. He loves trains, so as part of the work he has been doing on the allotment, we encouraged him to design and build his own railway.

When speaking to Alex, he said: “I am hoping to continue helping on the allotment and decorate the sides of the track and take the train through into the potting shed.”

August Beinstein, head tutor at the Raymond Blanc School of Gardening has also been involved in our allotment recently.

She gave us a pack of seeds to grow micro greens with the youngsters on our raising aspirations programme at the allotment. We were able to plant nine trays of micro greens and once grown they will be added to the salads at The Arc café, taking inspiration from August herself as this is what she does in her restaurant.