On 9th and 10th August, participants of the National Citizen Service (NCS) helped their local charity, Mid and North East Essex Mind, with a new allotment project based in Colchester. The NCS is aimed at 15 to 17 years-old, and provides the chance for them to take on challenges, make their mark and build skills for work and life.
The aim of the specialist allotment project is to aid recovery of mental health difficulties and substance misuse and will hope to include training opportunities for participants as well as a therapeutic space within the programme’s own garden. The garden will not only be a productive one growing fruits, vegetables and herbs but will provide a social space for participants to interact with one another, aiding recovery.
The NCS students organised two fundraising events, a bake sale and sponsored walk, and raised over £700 which they used to spend on gardening equipment which the charity will keep to use for the project. Furthermore, the students helped to cut down some of the overgrown grass and weeds that were on the allotment, as well as trimming the plants, hedges and giving the shed a new coat of paint.
Jade, from the Essex Youth Service, says: “Many of the young people in the group were inspired to support the charity due to their own personal experiences with mental health. They wanted to contribute to the start-up of a new project which will go on to help others who are going through a difficult time. We are so pleased that the group could help in this way and we can’t wait to see how the project will grow.”
Jenny MacPherson, Community Partnerships Fundraiser, says “we are really delighted that the NCS group chose our charity to support for their social action project as it means that we are nearer to being able to provide this space to those who are in recovery from mental health problems and substance misuse. It’s well-known that taking part in any form of physical activity and being out in nature can really boost your wellbeing, so we really believe this will be a fantastic offering in the community. We would like to thank the participants of NCS for helping to prepare the allotment for the programme and for providing us with the equipment needed to kick-start it; your support means a great deal to the charity.”
If you would like to support Mid and North East Essex Mind through fundraising or volunteering, please visit the website at www.mnessexmind.org or call 01206 764600.