Hi, we're the Briar Road Allotment Holders Association, and our project is to build 8 raised bed plots to help people with mobility needs, whatever their age, to feel the love and benefit of growing fruit and veg.
We want to transform an unused plot into an accessible food growing space for people with reduced ability to garden, and to introduce new people to the love of growing.
We have a plot on our allotment which we've cleared of brambles, and rubbish. Now we need to build 8 raised beds, with solid paths in between to make them wheelchair accessible.
We have plotholders who can't maintain a full-sized plot, at ground level, so we want to create smaller, raised beds, with wide paths. These will be easier to plant and weed than ground-level beds. We've seen how distressed some of older plot holders become when they can't keep their plots in good order, and how their wellbeing has declined as a result.
Many of our allotment members have had the plots for years, and are finding it harder to keep them looking good. Some of our plotholders have reduced mobility, or need to use mobility vehicles to get around, and this is hard on uneven grass paths.
This last year has been tough on many older people who have felt so isolated. The allotment community is a friendly place, somewhere to meet people, and enjoy the social contact, as well as the fresh air and exercise that gardening provides. The allotment has been a lifeline during the COVID pandemic - a place of mental escape and peace, away from the cares of the world.
We'd also like to use these plots for people who want to get into allotmenting, but don't know if it's for them - this will help us bring the benefits of gardening to a much wider demographic than we currently reach. A lot of people wait years to get a full allotment plot, then after a few months they realise it's a lot of work, on a regular basis, and give up. This would be like a trial plot, from which they could graduate to a full-size plot.
We are passionate about how gardening has a positive effect on health (mental and physical), and we want more people to be able to enjoy it.
- Simon Murby
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