Disability Support South Tyneside

Allotment Plot Is Blossoming

An allotment plot created for keen gardeners with learning disabilities is blossoming into a big success.

For more than a year, up to 20 people have regularly attended the site at Holder House allotments in South Shields.

Led by Chris Connolly – a day centre officer in West Walpole Street – the group has worked hard to turn the plot of land into an area that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Councillor Ernest Gibson (centre) pictured at Holder House allotments with Day Centre Officer, Chris Connolly, service users Paul Butters, Michael Rylance and Clinton Sewell.

Now, with more funding from Awards For All, Social Enterprise Investment Fund and Your Fund, it is hoped the site will be further developed with a shower and toilet facility.

Organisers are also looking to revamp paving around the plot to enable those with physical disabilities a chance to join in the fun. It is hoped families and the community will also play a part in the site.

Mr Connolly said: “The garden has been well received by everyone and people want to be here. The funding means we are hoping to turn the plot into a place accessible to everyone, and eventually for schools to come down and have their own projects.

“We have been going since June last year and we have just been developing from then. Plans are also in place for a wood workshop – we just have all sorts of plans for the place which are only as big as our imaginations.”

Members of the Select Committee Children and Young People, Independent and Healthy Lives recently enjoyed a tour of the allotments.

Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Ernest Gibson, said: “This is an excellent project and one we fully support. It is a great addition to the community and the people who have worked on the site should be applauded for their effort and their dedication in making this scheme such a success.

“The scheme has so many positives, from enabling us to provide training for local people to promoting healthy eating.”

The group would like to thank Timberline for supplying the sheds for the site.

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