26 April 2016 / Categories: Carlisle Food City Water Street Community Garden Sustainable Carlisle runs a community garden at the rear of the Women’s and Family Hostel in Water Street, Carlisle The garden is now in its third season and has become established. It is primarily for growing vegetables and fruit though there are also flowers. It is anticipated that gardening will improve the physical and mental health of participants and that the fresh produce will improve diet. The garden provides the opportunity to both grow vegetables and learn how to grow them by practical experience in a supported environment. The gardening sessions are also a social occasion for all involved. Gardeners take home all the produce. The garden is run on organic principles. Anyone and everyone is welcome, no distinction is made for age, ability or skill levels. There are links to and referrals from NHS mental health services and mental health charities. Hostel residents are particularly welcome. Gardening sessions are currently held weekly on Saturday mornings though it is hoped to restart a mid-week session. It is also hoped to continue gardening through the winter months. This has not yet happened in earlier seasons when gardening has been from spring to autumn only. A full range of figures for numbers involved is not currently available. Outcomes for health improvement are anecdotal but participants generally enjoy the experience and the produce. Gardener recruitment is slow and word of mouth and social media are proving the best means of promotion. The garden had a small initial grant which is used primarily for revenue running costs. Capital items (tools, cold frame, some consumables) are largely provided by the support and donations of local individuals. Some tools came from Tools for Self Reliance which cannot use donated garden implements. Many plants, cuttings and seeds are also donated. The vegetable waste from the Fair Meals Direct kitchen is composted in the garden. These donations in kind make it a community garden in the widest possible sense. The Prince’s Trust contributed a day’s work in initial digging and construction of a raised bed. For further details please contact Elizabeth Allnutt Email: [email protected] or mob: 07749 089 842 tel:01228-544120 Print 1687 Rate this article: 5.0 Please login or register to post comments.