A community space can once again provide a vital respite for people with mental health challenges thanks to a group of young people.
18 young people, aged 15-17, from Wakefield have transformed a local allotment area which supports people who are experiencing problems with their mental health.
The group completed a two-week programme with Wakefield Trinity called ‘Keep Doing Good’. The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable up to one million hours of teens taking an active role in helping the country recover post Covid-19. In their final week, the group pulled up their sleeves and volunteered at Appletree Allotments in Wakefield.
This week is ‘National Allotments Week’ and the benefits of an allotment go much further than growing fresh produce – the outdoors and interaction with nature has proven benefits for mental health. Appletree Allotments is a community space, and is a referral place for people with mental health issues or who are suffering from loneliness. Once there, they receive 1-to-1 support sessions, meet new people and talk about their mental health.
The allotment relies on volunteers, but due to COVID-19 there have been fewer people able to help out and so it has become overgrown. The group of young people have worked hard to transform the allotment so it is a safe and happy place for people to visit once again.
Keaven, 16, one of the volunteers is delighted at what the team has done. He said;
“It’s been really nice to give something back to the community, especially to those that need it most. It’s been fun to volunteer at the allotment – we’ve been painting, weeding and even met the chickens! The people who work at Appletree are so nice and they’ve taught us loads.”
“It’s good to get some volunteering experience in a really friendly environment, especially after being home for so long!”
Bridget Hill, Charity Manager at Spectrum People who manage Appletree allotments said;
“What a difference a few days make and lots of wonderful NCS volunteer hours. We are so pleased to welcome this amazing group as their helping hands to Appletree which needed a lot of TLC. The individuals Spectrum People supports will really enjoy this space once they come back after lockdown.”
Thousands of young people in Yorkshire and The Humber, like this group of young people, are due to take part in ‘Keep Doing Good’ in August with EFL Trust (official Charity Arm of the English Football League) and other local organisations. During their time on the programme, young people will develop themselves and make a positive impact on the community through a social action project volunteering their time supporting local issues in their community.
For more information on ‘Keep Doing Good’ click here.