A-Lott-Of-Fun to be had this Summer

Our allotment is blooming this summer, with the help of the British sun, the generosity of The Talbot Trusts, and of course our amazing clients who attend the allotment as part of their weekly activities here at St Wilfrids Centre.

We would like to say a huge thank you to The Talbot Trusts who due to their generosity, we have now been able to fund all of the works necessary to further the enjoyment of our allotment in Heeley. This has included making the allotment more accessible to everyone by improving the pathways, installing raised beds to eradicate the need for bending down and being able to replace vital gardening equipment. Our allotment now boasts a new concrete sloped pathway; row upon row of yellow planter tubs (made from recycled plastic bins) for growing vegetables, and two sheds that no longer let in the rain! We now also have battery operated hedge trimmers, which have been great for cutting back the over-grown pathways and hedges.

The allotment is a huge part of many of our client’s lives, with 10 clients visiting twice weekly to give a hand with planting produce, neatening up the place and of course have a well deserved catch-up with a cup of tea and biscuits. Whether this is a just a well needed break and some fresh air, or a place to escape and invest some time in something they are passionate about, the allotment is extremely important to many of our clients, one in particular being David.

David is a regular client of St Wilfrid’s and has been using the Centre for nearly 3 years, taking part in many activities, one of his favourite being frequent visits to the allotment. David is an avid gardener at home and his knowledge is much used and respected at the allotment. He likes coming to the allotment to socialise with people and he likes to see things grow. He used to keep racing pigeons and used own some fine racing champions that won many UK national races – his fastest flying 529 miles in 15 hours! But with his pigeons now gone he comes to the Centre to keep him active and connected. Prior to coming to the Centre David was extremely lonely and had found himself isolated from others through no fault of his own, using the Centre and attending the allotment has allowed him to make lifelong friends that share the same interests and passions as him, and given him a sense of importance and belonging within a group.

David and the other 9 clients have all been heavily involved in the improvements that have been made, with specialist help stepping in when needed for heavy duty work. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed being part of this special project and we are looking forward to a bumper season in 2019, lets keep our fingers crossed for the sun to stick around for a while. And Pamela the Centre’s in-house cook loves using as much of the produce as she can in her delicious meals that she prepares, from radishes in salads to berries in the crumbles.

When we asked our allotment team what their thoughts were on the improvements, it was all positive feedback and these were some of the comments: : 

‘It’s much easier now – you’re less likely to fall over.  It’s easier to carry things around without tripping over. ‘

‘It’s great that we have the raised beds because you don’t need to weed them and the slugs don’t ruin the produce.’ 

To celebrate this makeover we recently held an open morning to mark this huge achievement and to formally thank everyone who had been involved in helping make the project happen: clients and staff and our funders.

We’re all good mates on the allotment and this has made things a lot better.  When you come here, it takes your mind off your problems because we work together and help each other.
Madeleine Thomas