Allotment is opened tohelp with mental health

A CHARITY has opened an allotment to help adults who suffer with mental health problems.

Wednesday, 27th July 2016, 6:17 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:03 pm
(L-r) Rachel Lowrey, Chantelle Stokes, Sally MacPherson, Simon Bedford-Smith from Give, Gain and Grow, Adrian Moore, Lloyds Bank director for the area, Jack Blaker and Viv Thomas

Gosport Voluntary Action is an independent charity who provide community services and look to improve the lives of people who live in the area.

Their Give, Gain and Grow group aims to be a place for people who suffer from mental health, confidence and anxiety issues to socialise, gain confidence and learn the importance of health eating.

They’ve recently acquired an allotment in Crescent Green and were given a helping hand volunteers from Lloyds Banks Foundation.

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Give, Gain and Grow holds sessions twice a week, one of which is at Grange Farm, in Woodham Lane, where members learn to grow vegetables and interact with others.

Simon Bedford-Smith, 42, was forced to give up work as a landscaper due to arthritis, but is now volunteering and putting his skills to good use

Simon said: ‘I may not be able to landscape any more, but it doesn’t mean I can use my experience to help out.

‘A lot of people suffer with mental health issues and it’s a subject that still isn’t taken serious enough in society.

‘This is a chance for people to get out to enjoy being social – some who do suffer don’t realise how good it can be for them.

‘Growing vegetables means that we have a sustainable income coming in all the time, as we’re an independent charity and funding is running low. If we show we’ve got a regular income coming in, we can then apply for government grants.

‘It’s easy to plant a seed and let things go. It’s what we do with the food when it’s ready for harvest.

‘Last week, we pulled up our potatoes and cooked them.

‘This shows that they can learn how to cook these foods in a healthy way, which they’re then able to do alone..

Sally Macpherson organised the event for Lloyds and helped out at the allotment.

She said: ‘Simon is my neighbour and we help quite a lot of community charities out in the local area.

I know they’re running out of funding so it’s great that we’re able to help out.’

‘We’ll continue to help Give, Gain and Grow and help refurbish a building form them in September.’