We are delighted to announce the launch of our new project at Vale Community Hospital in Dursley. We are developing unused ground at the front of the hospital and installing up to 40 raised bed allotments for local individuals and groups interested in growing their own fruit and vegetables.
There is a growing body of evidence to support gardening and Horticultural Therapy use in patients with improving a wide range of conditions, including physical and mental health problems as well as helping with obesity, lack of exercise, healthy eating, stress, anxiety and social isolation. The development of this unused area of land will help to advance the quality of care and aftercare for patients, vulnerable people and the wider community.
Individuals can apply for an allotment through the new Social Prescription initiative and can be referred by their GPs and other health staff. Support is available in starting an allotment and there will be workshops on different aspects of growing food successfully. Each allotment will be in a raised bed measuring 16’x4’. There will be special matting and ramps to allow wheelchair access, plus a large shed for storage of equipment, seating and tea and coffee making facilities.
In addition to patients being directly referred, it is envisaged that patients who have experienced heart attacks and angina can use the allotments as part of their cardiac rehabilitation. Patients will be referred using a Social Prescription which links patients with non-medical sources of support within the community. Others to benefit will be local people who are on waiting lists for allotments in Dursley or live nearby.
The area will be fully landscaped with flowers and herbs and the planting of fruit trees to create a small orchard. The initial set up of allotments will be organised by Down to Earth with support from Bisley Community Composting Scheme.
Workshops are planned for the summer and will include an introduction to composting, sowing seeds, which way up to plant your onions and pollinators and predators!
We are running a Gardening Club every other Thursday at 9am. We need help with developing the gardens around the hospital, weeding and planting, and to help build the allotments and plant fruit trees. We would love to have you join us. Anyone interested in work experience or in seeing what working in gardening involves this could also be very useful experience.
We held our first gardening club on 2nd June and will be holding one every fortnight from now on.
We are also looking to work with volunteers and interested allotment holders including community groups and for community involvement in the development and the creation of workshops to develop skills and knowledge. Sponsorship and donations are also welcome including any plant donations.
If you are interested in volunteering or being involved in any way please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01453 700011.
Our Facebook page is at: www.facebook.com/ValeCommunityHospitalAllotmentScheme
The project is supported by the Gloucestershire County Council Active Together scheme, Vale Community Hospital League of Friends, Dursley Town Council, and the NHS.