Promoting good mental health at the allotment

Amber Trust, part of P3 charity, have had an allotment plot at Swanwick for eight years. It’s a peaceful spot in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside, open to clients, staff and volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The aim is to give anyone who needs it the chance to improve their mental wellbeing, whether that’s getting stuck in with a spade, or just relaxing and enjoying being outdoors. 

“We get to take fruit and veg home and cook with it - just from a small seed, something amazing grows.”

Sarah has volunteered with P3 for seven years now, after accessing P3’s iDecide Derbyshire service.

“When I moved out of shared accommodation, I moved into a house on my own. P3 and Amber Trust were supporting me at the time and told me about the allotment. So I started to come and I thought ‘Yeah I like this’. It’s really beneficial for my health, and I feel like I’ve really achieved something at the end of the day; I feel really proud of myself.

“Now, I volunteer twice a week with Hazel supervising me. Or if anyone needs a buddy or support, then I will work with them, especially if they’re new to the allotment.

“Hazel’s great, a really good mentor and teacher. She’s taught me a lot. It’s also nice sometimes when she’s not here and I can take a leading role and tell people what to do!

“We take the fruit and veg that we grow here to local markets like Belper Food Festival and Ripley Spring Festival, and we raise around £50-100 to put back into the project. The volunteers and clients get to take fruit and veg home and cook with it – it’s brilliant, just from a small seed, something amazing grows.”

“There’s a guy who comes and brings milk for us every Tuesday and that’s it – and that’s enough.”

Hazel Baldwin is a Support Worker who supervises the allotment activities.

“You can see people getting something out of it - they nurture crops, try new foods, eat what they grow and understand a bit more about where food comes from. When one of our clients is able to take home some beans that he’s grown for his mum, that’s a big thing, it’s about them being proud of what they do.”

“There’s no pressure, people can do as much or as little as they like. Even if it’s just to get out of the house. There’s a guy who comes and brings milk for us every Tuesday and that’s it – and that’s enough.”