ACCEPT Allotment Project
ACCEPT is a Hinckley based charity that provides support to adults with mental health difficulties.
The work of ACCEPT is based on the principle/ethos of Friendship Groups, the concept of which has been evaluated and regarded as highly valuable by mental health professionals. One of the projects delivered by ACCEPT is an allotment project in Barwell, which provides opportunities for adults with mental health issues to develop horticultural skills, as well as indoor based arts and crafts activities.
The project has demonstrated beneficial impacts for those who attend, such as growing healthy, organic produce in an outdoor environment; learning new gardening and cooking skills; and developing social and peer support networks, some of which have resulted in the formation of significant relationships/friendships amongst participants. The participants have reported how much they value the opportunity for meaningful activity, along with the social interaction the allotment project provides, which has greatly assisted their recovery and helped to improve their confidence and independence.
Other outcomes have included:
- Improved general health and wellbeing, through being outdoors and physically active
- A sense of fulfilment through growing and harvesting food and crops
- Reduced isolation – people are getting out of their homes and interacting with others
- Sharing of knowledge – people have been able to feel comfortable/confident enough to share their skills, knowledge and also to listen to other people's points of view
- Empowerment – participants have been included in discussions about how the allotment can be developed
- The support provided through the allotment project has enabled participants to manage their mental health conditions more effectively, thus preventing the need for more intensive and costly healthcare services
There are also potential income generation opportunities to help sustain the project, e.g. from selling the fresh produce grown on the allotment, and also through selling some of the arts pieces made by participants.
The project was awarded a £3,000 SHIRE Grant for equipment and materials to develop the site and make the space more comfortable for participants, along with £10,000 for a new shed and associated equipment in 2015-16.