We have recently acquired an allotment plot at Henley Mill Allotments in Henley Green and have been very fortunate to receive funding from National Open Garden Scheme for resources to build and create a community space.
We will be spending the summer and autumn of 2022 creating a community space that will be a community Sanctuary Garden and outdoor learning space filled with raised beds with room for a central table and seating where participants can sit, pot, create and chat, sharing ideas and experiences together as the seasons pass.
There will also be a summer house that participants can use to relax in and this will double up as a creative space where techniques linked to the plants and wildlife around them can be learnt (including
pickling, jam making, vegetable dying, willow weaving, wood carving, wreath making, upcycling objects for planters).
A key aspect of our plan is that all the work to create the plot/garden will be done by the participants supported by volunteers from the allotment community.
We want to make the space accessible and a place of inspiration, sanctuary and wellbeing for all of our current and future participants (and their families and friends) to share and tend to and benefit from their connection with horticulture.
The plot is a blank canvas and in consultation with our participants we have designed a space
that we can build as a community and maintain as a community.
Focus of growing will be on nourishment of the mind, body and soul – fruit and vegetables to eat, herbs that are known for their healing properties and also sensory plants with strong fragrance and textures and also plants that encourage wildlife.
All stages of the project will be completed by participants. With support from allotment members who have kindly offered their knowledge and skills to us. We hope that the impact for participants who create the space and spend time in it will include –
– Development of new skills
– Increased connection with nature, gardening, biodiversity – feeling inspired by the land around them
– Raised levels of positive thinking
– Better physical health
– Increased sense of physical wellbeing
– Decrease in low mood and anxiety
– Build confidence in their social abilities and their horticultural abilitiesReduction in isolation
– A sense of pride in what they have achieved