This growing season has been a busy one for our allotmenteers. With funding initally from Tesco Bags of Help, then from Heart of England Community Foundation (Harry Payne fund and Birmingham and Black Country Communities fund), we ran regular workdays at the allotment and grew a wide range of vegetables and fruits.
Our members initally took part in constructing a wooden gazebo with David Papadopoulos, our skilled and dependable Spring to Life ‘handy-man’ (also main coordinator at Highbury Orchard Community). This provided much needed shelter for the very unseasonably hot days we had during our english summer, and for the seasonably rainy days too.
Apart from our usual volunteers and participants, we made links with a large hostel housing newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees. Twice a week we took people from there to the allotment. Some people had only just been in the country for a few days or weeks, and the trips to the allotment provided a much needed relief in a quiet space in nature. Over the spring and summer we took over 100 people to the site.
People were able to take back with them harvested produce as well as positive feelings of well-being having had time to socialise, eat, have fun, get their hands in the soil, and experience peace in nature.
Aside from the allotment, participants also had the chance to visit a care farm, connect with animals and get creative with music.