A gardening project that provides isolated disabled and older people with opportunities to make friends, exercise and learn new skills, will be kept open and able to grow, thanks to a grant from Derbyshire Freemasons.
The £28,990 grant to the Plot to Plate allotment project, run by Disability Direct, will pay for a new Project Co-Ordinator, who will work with volunteers to deliver the ‘Grow Your Own’ service to 350 local people. Alongside the wheelchair-accessible vegetable beds, there will be practical cooking classes, weekly gardening sessions and community open day events, all free of charge, with activities to support the environment such as making bug and bee hotels.
Disability Direct’s long term aim is to create accessible allotments across Derbyshire so many more of the 157,000 local disabled people can take advantage of the project.
The Plot to Plate allotment, located on Little Chester Allotments in Derwent Heights, was designed and built in January 2017 by Disability Direct to be as accessible as possible for disabled and older people. Over the past two years, the project has supported over 100 local people with regular gardening sessions, and many more people have participated during the outreach they do at sheltered housing schemes.
The grant from Derbyshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Amo Raju, Chief Executive Officer of Disability Direct, said:
“We’re very grateful to Derbyshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will allow Disability Direct to help even more disabled people access outdoor activities in a supported environment. We look forward to working with the freemasons and reporting successes over the next two years.”
Steven Varley from Derbyshire Freemasons said:
“I’m very pleased we’re able to help the Plot to Plate project, which not only provides opportunities for disabled and older people to socialise, but also offers very practical gardening and cooking skills. This is a truly outstanding project that needs to be replicated across the county and the country, so that many others can benefit.”