We have worked with many people over the years providing a safe room and help with day to day problems.Now we are doing new things. We are helping people learn to use computers, tell their story about moving to London and find a place to call their own.
Many Irish people have worked soil when they grew up, either on a farm, in a back garden or they’ve seen others working to grow things every day. Gardening is a familiar pass time.
This Spring 2013, Innisfree were offered an allotment plot to rent from Brent Council and we asked some people to help clear the site in Sudbury.
We received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme which we used to buy a shed and topsoil.
People came to help. Some were experienced allotment growers and others were enthusiastic beginners. They cleared the site, built raised beds and placed topsoil in the beds.
Several organisations helped offering old scaffold boards for raised beds, wood chip for walkways and tools to get things started. Other allotment members helped us by offering their surplus plants, suggestions for making fertiliser and ideas to keep pests away.
In early Summer, Brent offered us a second allotment plot to clear and we discovered several trees under the scrub.
Some tenants were also offered allotments of their own to work. We all helped each other to clear these sites.
Now we are growing potatoes, radish, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, carrot, parsnip, marrow, courgette, brussles sprouts, beans, peas, raspberries, gooseberries, apples, pears and a rare Medlar fruit tree. These are early days, but we will get small crops of these this Autumn.
The project is a great success to date. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far and we are now looking forward making more good ideas work.
Michael says that ‘An allotment changes lives. You will always find things to do, even when you’re having a bad day’. We meet new people who are growing different things, which they learned to grow in their own country. The stranger has become a friend bonded by the growing seasons and care for each other.
If you would like to get involved, learn more or start something yourself, please contact Jim Sheeran – Community Initiatives Officer 020 7692 1252 [email protected] .