VINCI staff from the IHP team constructing the new Paterson building at the Christie Hospital in Manchester and the New Victoria development in Manchester city centre, are nurturing growing relationships with nearby allotment gardeners in a bid to support community wellbeing.
Building on previous voluntary allotment work that Paterson team volunteers completed earlier this summer, VINCI has thrown its support behind Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership’s new ‘green social prescribing’ (GSP) initiative, being delivered by social enterprise Sow the City.
The GSP initiative enables GPs, other health and care practitioners and local agencies to refer people to nature-based interventions and activities, such as local walking for health schemes, community gardening and food-growing projects.
Allotment gardens around the city have been earmarked to be part of the GSP initiative and VINCI volunteers have agreed to buddy up with some of the gardens located near their respective sites. Working with Sow the City, New Victoria staff will liaise with Crumpsall Park Community Garden to understand what skills and support they may be able to contribute to help the gardeners improve their site and facilities. Volunteers from the Paterson project will do likewise, buddying up with the Ryder Brow Community Allotments.
The involvement in this initiative follows on from a similar community project completed by a team of volunteers from Paterson site. That initiative saw them dismantle some disused polytunnels from a former allotment at the North Manchester General Hospital site, transport and reassemble them at three other working allotments, including re-covering them with new polythene and installing new doors, and supplying a new welfare cabin at the Ryder Brow site.
As one of the sites supporting the GSP initiative, the Ryder Brow allotments will continue to host gardening and grow-your-own courses for local people to help support their social and mental wellbeing. The new polytunnels have enabled the community gardens to welcome more gardeners and growers and to plant a greater range and quantity of produce. The new cabin - a place for the gardeners to meet and take breaks, allows them to spend more time working with, and enjoying nature at the allotments.
The Ryder Brow community gardeners sent the VINCI team a card to convey their gratitude for the polytunnel project, stating: “Words can’t express how much your kind consideration has touched our hearts… thanks to your crew who delivered and constructed the polytunnel, installing the polythene and doors. It came just in time for the Grow Your Heritage project. A BIG THANKS too for arranging the donation of the cabin.”
One gardener added “great initiative”, and another declared “This course has helped my mental health so much and is very much appreciated.”
Kim Bligh, on the Paterson site, added: “the polytunnel project was very rewarding. We’re looking forward to building on the relationship we’ve developed with the Ryder Brow team and to understanding how we may be able to further support the improvement of their allotments, which will in turn bring great benefits for their gardening community and service users.”
Date: 13 September 2021