Over 100 people per year take part in Carshalton Community Allotment.
There’s a real mix of reasons for our participants to come to our sessions – enjoying their informal nature, being outdoors, meeting others, getting exercise, learning how to grow food and bringing welcome relaxation time
We asked the participants themselves what they thought and here’s what they told us:
As soon as I’m through the gate, I take a deep breath and leave all my worries behind. It’s so great to come here and feel useful. Simon always makes me feel worthwhile. I go home feeling very happy and very satisfied. Thank you for this lovely sanctuary – Nicky
I think it is quite beneficial. To get out into the open air is good. I’ve met people, I get fresh veggies. And I think it’s good for my health, my mental health, my physical health. It’s great. Free food helps with my bills and it’s good to meet new people. It also helps keep me fit – Udo
I come here for purely selfish reasons, I enjoy it. I take food home, I mix with nice people. I get to mix compost, which is my hobby. I love compost – it’s the Cinderella of gardening, it’s so important. I have definitely learnt new skills. Before I only did container gardening, but not in proper bed. It’s a combination of skills and savvy, for example, we were weeding round the onions and the leeks, ‘cause Nick said that they like to have space and bare earth. And I learnt, from somebody else that was here, to take out the bottom third of the tomato leaves. It’s great to get away from my desk and out into the fresh air of the allotment. Great exercise, learn lots and meet new people – Belinda
When I was changed from income support to ESA, I went to Mainstream, who said I don’t have to work, but suggested I do some voluntary work. I thought to myself it’s not a bad idea, also to get some exercise, to fill part of the day and to something that might be therapeutic.
I’ve learnt how to plant garlic, how to space them. I’ve learnt about weeding and watering. I’ve helped other people – they’ve helped me and I’ve helped them. We can talk to each other while we’re gardening and we can learn how to pull out weeds instead of carrots! It’s sharing skills because you talk with people while you are working. That’s therapeutic in itself. I’m using this as a stepping stone, this gardening, for what I might want to do in the future – David