We have been running food growing activities for over 20 years, and in that time, hundreds of people in the local community have benefited.
Participants at our Carshalton Community Allotment therapeutic gardening drop in sessions have told us how much of a difference gardening makes to them, as can be seen from their words below:
“As soon as I’m through the gate, I take a deep breath and leave all my worries behind”, and that they go home “feeling very happy and very satisfied. Thank you for this lovely sanctuary”
“I come to be outdoors, to help others, to have structure in my life and to understand food growing and better ways of doing it at home with my family. I am enjoying myself very much and feeling useful. I learn something new every session. As I start to gain confidence I would love to research something new. I have had the motivation to plant crops at home, and managed to get coffee from my local café. I wouldn’t have been able to go in and ask for this last year.”
“Gardening has reduced my stress. My wife suggested that I do it, I am really glad now that I did.”
“Where I live it’s stressful. You can’t even walk around the street at night without feeling unsafe. But when I come here, I feel good, and the biggest killer in life is stress. So it’s helped with my health that way. It’s a good thing to come here ‘cos you’re round greenery, it makes me feel good. Yeah, I never feel bad when I come down here.”
“I like gardening, and I haven’t anywhere else to do it. I haven’t got my own garden. It’s a bit of exercise and fresh air. I get some kinds of vegetables I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.”
At Carshalton Community Allotment, we offer opportunities for participants to benefit through the recognised ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’:
1.Connect: make new friends in your community by working alongside others on the allotment and having a natter at tea break.
2.Be active: Each session lasts 120 minutes, offering low/moderate intensity aerobic exercise, contributing to the recommended 150 minutes (minimum) exercise for adults per week. Physical activity can help people with mild depression. Being active can improve your wellbeing through a sense of greater self esteem.
3.Take notice: Being outside in all seasons, caring for crops and experiencing nature. Participants are encouraged to take notice and enjoy the allotment in a mindful way.
4.Keep learning: The project leader/volunteers share their gardening experience with participants. Sessions offer opportunities to learn horticultural organic food growing skills. Participants take crops home to gain cooking skills.
5.Give: Volunteering at our sessions is good for mental wellbeing. Participants support each other and work with others towards a shared goal. Volunteers are also proud to help grow plants for sale to raise funds for the alloment project.