Kate Thompson who writes our regular Welcome Home feature, has stepped outdoors into the Southsea sunshine to find out more about the healing powers of life on the allotment.
Spending time on the Milton Piece Community Allotment in Locksway Road, it’s easy to see why this particular plot has proven so beneficial to hundreds of volunteers.
The project will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2022. In that time the plot has grown and flourished – and so have its healing powers.
Community gardener Jenny Woods joined in 2004, and she admitted she had to pick up new skills pretty quickly.
“When I first came here, I didn’t know much about vegetable growing, so in that first year I learned really quickly.
“People get referred in different ways to come to the community allotment. There are self-referrals and some are referred by their doctor or different teams.
“Being outside, hearing the birds can bring back memories of childhood and seeing things growing all around you is so positive,” she said.
Young and old volunteers flock to the community allotment and each gains something new from the experience.
Jenny has seen many people transform before her eyes as a result of getting involved in the project.
“There was one gentleman in his 90s who had suffered poor health and so his own garden had deteriorated.
“He started coming along and helped with the sowing and potting-on. He had so much experience, he was able to share with me and the others.
“Gradually, he started taking plants home until he eventually started gardening at home again.
“Another woman who came here as a volunteer was inspired to go to study at Sparsholt College, and now works as a professional gardener.
“People come from all walks of life, and some have been coming for years. It’s great to be able to show children and adults where their food comes from, and the best part is the volunteers get to take home whatever is ready to harvest that day,” she said.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer at the Milton Piece Community Allotment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org