Spring is in the air and local organisation, Wash Arts CIC has announced its new series of exciting sessions for its community based gardening scheme hosted at the Arena Community Allotment on Heanor Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 8DY.

‘Horti- Culture’, a way of encouraging locals to have a go at growing their own fruit and veg’ at a nearby Ilkeston allotment, is ready for the next influx of participants.

Its scheme, particularly aimed at those recovering from drugs, alcohol and misuse substance, is free to come along to and the results are amazing; lots free yummy fresh food (some for you to take and the remainder is be donated back to the local food bank at the Arena Church), a chance to get in touch with nature and a process which helps the participant focus on something positive and fun.

The regular Tuesday afternoon scheme starts at 1.30pm for two hours; all gloves and tools are supplied and you don’t need any experience in gardening. In fact, it’s a fabulous way to learn; mistakes are expected as are smiles and a sense of ‘have a go’. Support is provided as is free tea and coffee.

Jo Swann lead gardener says
“In many ways, the gardening group is a valuable tool on the road to recovery. Participants in this project benefit through improving their general wellbeing. Through the gardening group, they are benefiting physically through an increase in exercise, being outdoors and through access to fresh organic produce. Gardening tasks are team based thus encouraging social interaction and reducing the isolation felt by many participants. Emotionally, the responsibility of caring for a space and the plants within it gives participants a purpose and role; increasing confidence and self-esteem. The learning of new practical skills is empowering and allows people to begin to imagine a new possible future for themselves.”

Assistant gardener on the projects, Dave Wood says, I love gardening and even better if I can pass on my own experience to others; I’ve also felt the benefits of working in an allotment, the fresh air and the sense of achievement is massive, even pulling up the first spuds of the year is like magic…and anyone can do it’.

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