Yorkshire garden party to launch community project

5 September 2011

A garden party is being held in Holmfirth to launch a new community project.
The party on Saturday September 10th is being organised by Holme Valley Gardening Network to officially open their community allotment at Wooldale.
The allotment, which features raised beds and wheelchair-friendly paths, is aimed at anyone who has a health issue or who cares for someone with a health condition. But it is open to anyone who just wants to have a go at fruit, vegetable and herbgardening.
The project is funded by KirkleesCommunity Partnership andKirklees Council Environment Unit,and supported by the Independent Co-Operative Society, Methodist Church and Quakers in Wooldale, and Holmfirth Transition Town.
The plan is to organise training and events at the allotment throughout the year. As well as sessions on fruit and vegetable gardening, there will be advice on composting, cooking and foraging, and creative art events.
Project Manager Elaine Thélier said the main emphasis was on using the outdoors to help improve people’s health.
“The great thing about gardening is you are getting fresh air, fresh vegetables and you are subtly doing exercise. For a lot of people who don’t want to go down the traditional route of going to a gym, it is a great way to keep moving and keep fit.
“All in all it is a great combination, particularly for people who may have health issues. It’s amazing how it can change your mood and help you feel better.”
One person who has benefited from the gardening network is 52-year-old Mark Dickinson, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2007 while playing football.
As part of his recovery he joined one of the Elaine’s gardening courses and is now a member of the network’s advisory committee. Mark, who lives in Wooldale and used to be a businessman, said the gardening had really helped.
“Having had to finish work because of my health, some days I find it hard to see a purpose but doing a bit of weeding, planting or being outside pottering amongst the plants gives me that purpose and lifts the spirit,” he said.
“It really does help get your problems into perspective when you talk to others about their health problems.”
The Holme Valley Gardening Network was set up in 2009 by Elaine and Helen Scott, with whom she shared an allotment. The pair decided they wanted to set up a supportive network and called a public meeting. More than 40 people turned up at that meeting and the Independent Co-Operative Society offered them a field at Wooldale.
Elaine said: “It was amazing to see just how many people came and realise what energy and enthusiasm there is for gardening in Holmfirth. And it has just grown from there.”
The field at Wooldale has since been turned into allotments, which are used by more than 30 families, and there is a waiting list for plots.
The network, which is soon to become a social enterprise, also has an allotment at Royd’s Avenue in New Mill,which is managed by Helen Scott. Trained in cooking and healthy eating, Helen offers regular outdoor cooking sessions. The network also has an edible woodland garden at Wooldale, which is managed by Jill Johnson, who offers creative arts activitiesat the site.
The garden party at the new Wooldale allotment on Saturday (10th) will run from 2pm to 5pm. There will be refreshments available, creative art activities and a workshop on herbs. The ribbon cutting, to officially open the allotment, will be carried out by Mark Lewis chair of board of directors at the Independent Co-operative Society at 3pm.
An open session will be held two days earlier on Thursday September 8th between 11am and noon for anyone interested in finding out more about the new allotment.
For more information contact Elaine on 0794 9414163 or email info@hvgn.org
Reporters and photographers are invited to the garden party at Plot 1 of the Co-op allotment site behind Wooldale Co-operative for the ribbon cutting at 3pm on Saturday September 10th.
The network’s website is at: www.holmevalleygardeningnetwork.org

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