Sowing the seeds of success for new culinary venture

Staff from Pfizer in Havant and community volunteers from across the area have been clearing and planting on the allotment in New Lane for the charity, Chaos Support which helps young people with learning disabilities. (left to right), Clare Hedgecock and Bob Thurlow of Pfizer, Janet Duggan of Community First, Liz Archer of Pfizer and Anita Usai of Chaos Support. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141140-1) PPP-140430-154236003
Staff from Pfizer in Havant and community volunteers from across the area have been clearing and planting on the allotment in New Lane for the charity, Chaos Support which helps young people with learning disabilities. (left to right), Clare Hedgecock and Bob Thurlow of Pfizer, Janet Duggan of Community First, Liz Archer of Pfizer and Anita Usai of Chaos Support. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141140-1) PPP-140430-154236003
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SIX months ago the land was little more than a 10ft-high pile of weeds and rubbish.

But community spirit has helped to transform an allotment in Havant that will provide endless hours of enjoyment for young people with learning disabilities.

Yesterday, volunteers from Pfizer, Asda and Community First Havant, and East Hampshire (CFHEH) joined young people to dig up the soil and plant seeds at the allotment off New Lane.

The allotment will provide produce for Chaos Support, which is a Havant-based charity that looks after people with learning disabilities and aims to empower them to achieve.

The charity recently started a social enterprise called Chaos Cuisine and young people will be making jams, pickles and chutneys from greens grown at the allotment.

A community cafe is set to open in Emsworth by the end of May.

Anita Usai, who set up Chaos Support with her friend Kerry Whapshott, said: ‘It was called the dump.

‘It was 10ft high with rubbish and recycling. Kerry and I came to take a look and thought “Oh, my goodness, what are we going to do with this?”’

Staff from Southern Electric helped to clear the mess last year.

Anita, a former drama teacher, added: ‘We want to turn it into a sensory, therapeutic working environment for young people with learning disabilities.

‘We are going to grow things we can put into production working with our local community. We are going to do potatoes, onions, leeks, pumpkins and hope to put some fruit trees in.

‘The young people will learn about health eating and any excess will go to a local food bank.’

Hayley Stone, 22, who attends Chaos Support at Leigh Road in Havant, said: ‘It’s really fantastic. We can make new friends. We get to make our own healthy things like smoothies.’

Janet Duggan, volunteer co-ordinator for CFHEH, said: ‘We are all working together to give the allotment the makeover it needs.’

Unemployed people also helped dig the allotment as part of CFHEH ‘V-Team’ initiative.

Ina Allum, V-Team co-ordinator, said: ‘It’s lovely. It’s just really good to work alongside Pfizer employees and do something that benefits the community for a really good cause.’

CFHEH is looking for businesses to get involved with community projects, as well as organisations that need help. E-mail janet.duggan@cfheh.org.uk