In the outskirts of Edinburgh, we have a group of service users who are very keen to be as active in their local community as possible, and a few years ago they secured the use of a derelict allotment on a local site.
They have completely gutted the plot and they built it back up using extremely limited resources, and have managed to produce various fruits and vegetables from which they have made various fruits and jams.
However, they are now at the stage where the equipment they have needs replaced and more specialised items are required. They have very ambitious plans for the future and these items will ensure that those plans can be met.
The benefits of gardening are well documented, but for our service users, they are extremely wide and varied. Not only does it allow for fresh air and exercise which is essential for their physical and emotional well-being, but it teaches them other life skills such as working in a team, having responsibilities to both the allotment and others in their team, and project planning and budgeting.
Growing your own food has many advantages. As well as helping to provide greenspace in urban areas, it has a positive role to play in people eating well, improving health and well-being and fostering community spirit by encouraging people to get together.
The people who are working on the allotment have a wish list of new equipment.
Wooden Sturdy Garden Furniture with Benches – £380
5 Bags of Manure – £60 per bag
5 Bags of Woodchips – £50 per bag
Polycarbonate Cold Frame Greenhouse – £35
Wooden Growbed for Veg, Salad and Herbs – £35
Wooden Raised Border – £30
Popadome Fruit and Veg Net System – £25
Fleece Tunnel – £20
Garden Kneeler Seat Kneeling Pads – £10
Our Head Office is in a new build, 2 story pavilion in Govan, and we currently use the top floor as office space and lower floor for meetings, dance and art classes. There is, however, huge potential for development of this space; to provide day services, independent living projects and generally be a “social hub.” Our plan is to offer a variety of both structured activities, and user led activities, so that the whole community can benefit from the space. We are also one of only 4 buildings in the area who have a “Changing Places” toilet, which means that people with the most complex of difficulties can safely and comfortably access the building.
Within the vacant space there is a fully functioning, height adjustable kitchen and we also have a smaller “break out” room, which we are developing into a sensory room.
There are very limited sensory resources in the South of Glasgow, and they are all full to capacity, so accessing them can take a long time. Often, if our service users want to benefit from sensory therapy, they have to travel extensively to do so, which uses up a lot of their already tight care budget on travel and staff time.
We have therefore worked with a company who designed a state of the art sensory room for a local Special Needs School, and we are planning on starting the building of this in the next few months.
The room will be appropriate for adults, children, wheelchair users and there will also be pieces of equipment which will be portable so can be taken to those who cannot get to us.
Alongside this development are plans to create a community sensory garden which will compliment the activities in the room and will make a welcome addition to the Day Service during the months where the weather is kinder to us.
However, all of this development has to be funded through voluntary income, and the total cost will be in the region of £30,000.
If you, or the company work for, think you could help with any of our plans, we would love to hear from you.