Daily life has changed for all of us, some more than most, and being in social isolation can be grim if you can’t do all the things you’re used to. For people with allotments who are used to the outdoors and the therapeutic benefits of cultivating their plots, it must be hard not to be able to go. For other people, it’s just hard having to be at home all the time, even though you might love your home and being with your family. Harder still if you live alone and have less contact with family, friends and neighbours than normal.
So here’s the thing, the wonders of modern technology have given us the means to be in touch with other people to share our passions. Up to last year, I was for ever mislaying my mobile phone, forgetting to charge the batteries and when I did try and use it, pressing all the wrong things. Not a problem the younger generation has. But now, it’s proving to be a lifeline for me and people out there who want to carry on gardening, OR start doing gardening when they’ve never done it before.
Last October, we started the New Shoots Gardening Club at St.Margarets Road Allotment Site, with financial support from the Ageing Better Fund. Aimed at over 50s who are socially isolated, the aim was to offer group gardening opportunities on an allotment plot.
Over the winter the few people who got involved helped to turn the plot into a very respectable growing area with a polytunnel as well, though cold weather is not a great motivator for new gardeners. But now, with the fine weather and the lockdown, lots more people are getting interested so our WhatsApp group for Gardening Club members has expanded to over 40 members in the last two weeks! It’s proving to be an amazing way to keep in touch and organise the collection and delivery of ‘Grow Your Own at Home’ gardening kits with seeds, plants, compost and pots included. Some items we’ve bought, some donated. And lots of information and advice shared between new and longstanding gardeners, as well as tips and guidance from Faith Pearson, an experienced professional gardener and artist of Eco Gardening Services.
Everyone with a mobile is able to photograph and video their progress and so we getting queries answered, successes and failures displayed for everyone to comment on – oohs and aahs and ideas to try. Plus concern for people who aren’t well, good wishes and support and links being made between a whole range of people who didn’t know each other before
Watch this space for when the new shoots start coming up – in more ways than one.
If you wish to find out more, contact me on 07812 248447 or use Contact Us on this website.