How horticulture can help people grow

The New Leaf Allotment

A fantastic new initiative aimed at improving the wellbeing of vulnerable or disadvantaged people is up and running in the Bournemouth area.

Our newly-established Growth Project is using horticultural activities to help participants overcome a range of difficulties such as unemployment, mental health, substance abuse and social isolation.

Indeed, what we are seeing is how horticulture can help people grow themselves grow in all sorts of ways.

Gardening and horticulture can be very therapeutic and it is easy to see why this activity was chosen to be at the heart of the project.

It is an excellent project run by a hard-working and marvellously dedicated team – and is just one of the many and varied initiatives with which we are involved.

Based primarily at the New Leaf Company allotment in Throop, the six-week training project is open to anyone over the age of 19 and unemployed.

Those taking part will learn about fruit and vegetable growing, wildlife conservation and plant identification, as well as stress-less methods and mindfulness.

The scheme is supported through project and partnership funding by adult learning service Skills & Learning Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole, with whom we work closely.

It is part of the Bournemouth 2026 Community Strategy in which local government identified a need for increased volunteering and employability – and a strategy in which we play a leading role.

Project leader Kate Coughlan has stressed that The Growth Project is aimed at improving the wellbeing of vulnerable or disadvantaged adults using a range of bespoke horticultural and personal development activities and support.

She says it will provide a range of education, training and support to enable clients to become more active, healthier and less isolated – allowing beneficiaries to cope more effectively with everyday life pressures.

It will also aim to increase their chances of achieving and sustaining independent living – and with that comes a much better quality of life.

In a nutshell, if anyone is facing any of a wide range of issues – such as mental health, learning difficulties, unemployment, substance misuse, social isolation, or low or no qualifications – then this course could be for them.

There is an email address at the foot of this blog which can be used if you know of anyone who may be able to benefit from this excellent scheme.

The 2.2-acre allotment includes plenty of space for fruit and vegetable growing, three poly tunnels, a herb/butterfly garden, a summer house, an apple orchard and three ponds.

The first course runs on Thursdays from 10am to 2.30pm beginning with an enrolment session on October 18 at the New Leaf allotment with lunch, drinks and travel expenses provided.

In the event of adverse weather conditions it will be held at our head office, St Swithun’s House, in central Bournemouth.

The New Leaf Company, based at The Factory in Alder Hills, Poole, is our not-for-profit social enterprise arm which aims to improve the lives and the environment of people living and working in Bournemouth and Poole.

 It provides residential housing and commercial repairs and maintenance, a co-working hub, catering contracts, conference and training rooms, office rental, gardening and cleaning. 

To find out more about this brilliant service please visit The Growth Project.

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