Down to Earth Allotments

Our Down to Earth Allotment project helps build communities and connect people to nature through volunteering programmes such as ECO DEFENDERS, where young people learn to develop new skills.

Eco Defenders – Youth Action

A youth project including activity sessions for young people aged 10-11yrs who are interested in learning about growing your own, how to protect the environment, climate change, nature and having fun outdoors. The club is designed to hone children’s impact as young change-makers for the environment. Sessions are FREE, supported by the #iwill campaign, and will include up to 15 children.

Activities include:

  • allotment gardening
  • wildlife/veg garden design
  • forest play/ activities
  • camp fires
  • seasonal nature crafts
  • sessions on sustainability & climate change
  • specialist sessions on nature subjects such as bees

Location: Down to Earth Allotments CM1 2ES

If you are interested in joining the Eco Defenders project then please complete the booking form and email through to our project manager Carolin.


WHEN
Saturdays 10-12noon
Wednesdays 4-6pm

Our Summer of Fun

DOWN TO EARTH – Allotments

Our Down to Earth Allotment programme is based in inner city Chelmsford where we run six plots, opening them up to a range of community groups and schools.

Most of our volunteers are living with mental or physical disability, and we also use the allotment to engage recovery clients from Open Road (Drugs & Alcohol charity), MENCAP, New Hall School and Columbus School & College who cater for young people with complex and severe learning difficulties.

Currently all of the food grown at the allotments is shared amongst volunteers as they learn about food production and sustainability. We also engage people with the subjects of nutrition and cooking and any surplus is donated to Sanctus, a charity that helps feed the homeless and vulnerable people in the local area.

Click here for an insight into life on the allotments.

Open Days

We also host allotment open days several times a year to engage with the local community and encourage more people to volunteer with us. Images below are from our latest open day in July.

The difference we make

Participation in the local food programme provides residents with an improved sense of community, gives a sense of belonging and inclusion, educates residents about the benefits of healthy living and healthy eating and can improve mood, confidence and self-esteem.

Participants report improved motivation, the development of teamwork skills, a greater awareness of others in need and the opportunity to participate and achieve in a safe environment.

The scheme directly contributes to community health and wellbeing through the provision of organic food grown on site with surplus produce donated to the local food bank, spreading the benefit of the project even further.

Physical activity like digging and weeding contributes to improved physical health, while workshops and activities such as food preparation and cooking help participants to improve their skills and acquire new knowledge.

The programme

The allotments are a peaceful and rewarding way to build community spirit and connection with land, food and nature. We are also recipients of the #IWill fund this year which will provide additional volunteering opportunities for 10-11 year olds.

Participants:

  • Grow a range of food crops in the outdoor beds;
  • Grow fruit and tomatoes in the all-weather poly-tunnels we have erected on site;
  • Plant, weed and maintain the plots;
  • Participate in workshops to encourage skills development and healthier lifestyles;
  • Socialise during lunch and refreshment breaks;

The scheme is open to all and has been designed to be as inclusive as possible, through the provision of raised beds that the elderly and infirm can tend, as well as wheelchair accessible vegetable containers that salad crops can be grown in.

We would also welcome visitors to our allotments to experience for themselves some of the wonderful young adults finding their nature connection there.

Michael’s Story

Michael volunteers at the allotment site on a regular basis and thoroughly enjoys his time on site each week.

He travels some distance to get to the project, but always arrives with plenty of energy and enthusiasm and ready to get to work.

He had particularly enjoyed creating our wildlife pond area, which encourages frogs and amphibians into the area which are a great natural method of pest control for our organic crops.

Michael enjoys being a part of the Local Food Programme and encourages everyone to “Give it a go!”

“Thank you to everyone in the Wilderness Foundation team, in particular Jonathan, for working with our NHVS Wilderness students this term. They have thoroughly enjoyed their time at the allotments and are very keen to return in March.”

Co-ordinator, New Hall Volunteer Service

How you can help

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