Growing Horticulture Activities

LEAF is a community allotment project set up by and for local people with the aim of promoting access to healthy eating and growing activities. As well as organic vegetable growing, we have an orchard, herb and fruit growing areas and lots of sheds, tea breaks and home grown – home made soup sessions!

LEAF values its links with the local community, working with local schools and attending festivals. Our links with care homes began when a resident of a nearby home walked past and got chatting. This resulted in LEAF delivering a pilot of horticulture/art sessions at Longley Park View. Building on this work and funding from the EPHP (Enhanced Public Health Programme), this last year has seen us work closely with North Hill care home in delivering a programme of horticultural activity sessions.

What kind of things have we done?
Well the seasons always influence our choices, but content can vary from a single-focus activity like planting broad beans to a multi-themed session such as a summer strawberry tea party involving seed shaking, harvesting and making a cream tea outside.

Horticulture lends itself to festival and seasonal celebrations and recently LEAF, in partnership with staff at North Hill put on a Harvest Festival involving games, vegetable quizzes and competitions as well as food tastings and a delicious harvest supper. As time has gone on, more residents, staff, relatives and LEAF volunteers get involved, which we feel has got to be a positive outcome.

What have we learned?
Well, the benefits we can all enjoy on the allotments of fresh air, contact with nature, healthy eating and activity are transferrable and appreciated by people living in care homes. Working in partnership with managers and staff does enhance the quality and potential of all activity.

We have come to appreciate some of the challenges facing care homes in this work, such as pressures on staff time, confidence in, and access to horticultural knowledge. In our plan to encourage access to the allotment site this year we have come up against issues of transport and access to the site.

What next?
We wish to see this work develop, however being a small community project with a funded remit to work in the Sheffield 5 area only, it is not sustainable for us to deliver it directly ourselves. Our focus for 2010 is more on supporting activity workers in all things horticultural. As a first step in this direction we will be presenting a practical horticulture demonstration session at the various Activity Coordinators Support meetings in January. We also plan to produce practical resources. We are interested in talking with you about what you would find helpful, and in hearing about your own experiences wirth horticulture and growing.

Visit us:
Everbody is welcome to contact/visit/volunteer at the LEAF allotments regardless of where you live or work. We would advise you to contact us by phone beforehand to check on access and opening times.

Contact Details:
Diane Cocker, Project Manager on 07799 851 888 or
email: diane@leafsheffield.org.uk

website: www.leafsheffield.org.uk

Community Allotments Project, Norwood Allotments, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7HA (Pedestrain Entrance opposite Burrows Drive, just up from The Northen General Hospital.)

Article by Jo Wallace, LEAF Volunteer

Taken from ‘Care Homes Newsletter’ Decmber 2009

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