The importance of growing

17 August 2017

Residents involved with the Grow Stonehouse project in Plymouth have had the chance to showcase their important work in the community on TV. 

The interview was aired in the run up to BBC South West’s allotment special on TV, in celebration of National Allotment Week.

Through the project, residents are developing four sites in the Stonehouse area of Plymouth through weekly gardening sessions. The four groups then come together for a monthly meet up, where residents cook and eat together, using a mobile kitchen.

As part of the new project, residents have the chance to learn new skills or develop existing interests, such as learning about fruit pruning, potting, or flower arranging.

However, the project has a real focus on fun – and is helping people to get to know their neighbours better, and tackle social isolation together.

In the video, Lily Urbanska, from Grow Stonehouse, says: “Gardening and taking care of local greenspaces gives people a reason to get out of their houses, and it’s enjoyable.

“There’s lots cities can do to celebrate the small patches of green space because they are really valuable for people. I live in a third floor flat, with nothing green around me so being able to walk ten minutes and go to my allotment is just lovely. Everyone should have some access to green space – it really makes you feel better about the world.”

Millfields Inspired received an investment of £40,576 from People’s Health Trust to run the project, using money raised by HealthPerfect through The Health Lottery. 

The allotment special starts from 20.50 minutes. 

Organised by The National Allotment Society (NSALG), the theme for this year’s National Allotment Week is “Growing the Movement” - a celebration of all the hard work put in by voluntary association management committees, plot-holder volunteers and councils managing, creating, developing and safeguarding sites.

In a piece about the week, The National Allotment Society, explained how there was a lot to celebrate. They said: 

“Allotments have a long history of voluntary endeavour. Increasing numbers of voluntary allotment associations have taken on devolved management of their sites in recent years but there are many more who have been quietly getting on with it for decades; managing finances, maintaining and developing sites, monitoring plot cultivation, recruiting and supporting new plot-holders, arranging events and liaising with the allotment authority or landlord.

“Despite the pressure on land to build new houses and the effect on allotment services of the reductions in council subsidies, allotments are still thriving. Councils are still increasing their allotment provision, mainly via new housing developments and this year we will see the release of land from BT for hundreds of temporary growing sites.”

To mark the week, allotment groups across the UK will be opening their gates and holding barbecues, plant and produce sales, allotment tours, competitions and exhibitions, coffee mornings and afternoon teas – many of them raising funds to support local charities.

Are you getting involved in National Allotment Week? We’d love to hear how! Share your pictures and stories on twitter, using the handle @Peoples_health.


To find out more about the project Grow Stonehouse, click here.

To connect with Millfields Inspired, click here.


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