Britain in Bloom with the Royal Horticultural Society.
Thames and Chiltern.
The RHS have awarded the ‘Twyford Growers’ project a 2021 Its Yours Neighbourhood Digital Award of Achievement and Neighbourhood Digital Award of Excellence in Community and Environment.
Twyford Growers is an allotment group for people with feelings of anxiety, depression and/or loneliness. It has been set up by a group of Councillors, professionals, and enthusiastic individuals, led by Councillor Rohana Abeywardana and headed up by Twyford Parish Council with the support of and working with Involve, Age UK Berkshire and local NHS Social Prescribers.
Councillor Abeywardana was inspired when he heard a talk given to Twyford Allotment Tenants’ Association by gardening writer and founder of Life at No.27, Annabelle Padwick, about her work to create an allotment therapy site in Towcester and the benefits of allotments for mental health. This inspiration came together with a desire to support residents living with low to mid-level anxiety and depression and feelings of loneliness. Other local organisations shared these aims, and so the Twyford Growers was established, with residents able to refer themselves directly or be invited to the group through the Social Prescribers based at Twyford Surgery. At the plot people take part in therapeutic gardening sessions with activities led by a horticultural therapist, Christina Hughes Nind.
The judges liked the idea of supporting good mental health through therapist led therapeutic gardening sessions and commented on the following:
Superb range of organisation liaison
Great engagement using social media
Encourged transport to the site by foot leading to decreased pollution
Equipment mainly reused and upcycled
Use of locally discarded coffee chaf
Coppicing on site for plant supports
No dig approach in conjunction with green manure and mulching leading to enhanced fertility and soil structure
Wide range of crops and plants grown on rotation – mainly from seed or plant donations
Companion planting used which encourages biodiversity
Spiral bed maze
Herbal tea tray
The project will close for the winter months and reopen in spring of 2022.