SUPPORTING Mental Health Awareness week recently gave us the chance to catch up on the impressive work being carried out by participants in our Team Talk mental health programme on an allotment project in Skinningrove.
Team Talk was set up to help people who, usually through no fault of their own, have lost their way a little. An introduction to Francis Owens, director of Harmony Food Revolution, a Community Interest Company (CIC), was made and soon after an allotment project began.
Working with nothing more than an overgrown garden and a handful of volunteers, the allotment has come along way since they started. Working together, the team dismantled and revamped the area, starting almost from scratch.
It is a programme inspired by the Havana urban food growing experience, one where the people of Cuba found themselves at a loss for resources after Russia pulled out of their country. In response they taught themselves how to survive self-sufficiently by growing their own food, often in limited spaces. The allotment works to teach volunteers similar life-skills, showing them how they can grow their own food, even if they have little experience or space.
Being productive and enjoying some fresh air are two things proven to improve mental health, and the two go hand in hand at the Skinningrove allotment where their aim is to help people regain confidence and belief by teaching them basic gardening skills.
Team Talk participants are working tirelessly to create their own small utopia, in the shape of a small allotment hidden behind the building they hold their meetings in. Over the past 18 months, the change in the allotment makes it almost unrecognisable. What once stood as a neglected, forgotten wilderness, is now blossoming into something much more.