Motherwell Allotment is praised by Graham Simpson MSP.
Graham Simpson found that the Motherwell allotment project is working wonders for local mental health and wellbeing. The MSP recently visited Motherwell Occupational Therapy Department and found the project inspirational.
The Central Scotland MSP was inspired to see the benefits of the project, which promote independent living for locals recovering from mental health difficulties. The concept of the group was originally developed by Lee Samuel, Specialist Occupational Therapist. Lee recognised the opportunity to utilise the allotment to support individuals in improving their mental health and wellbeing whilst developing key social and vocational skills.
By growing a variety of flowers and vegetables from seed, members report feeling more productive and achieve a sense of satisfaction from witnessing the outcome of their hard work. Produce from the gardens is also utilised by the group; with cooking sessions offering an invaluable opportunity for further skill development and learning.
Key to the success of this project is the hard work and motivation of its members, which speaks volumes as to the value this group holds for individuals. Members have actively sought to expand and improve the allotment area to ensure its sustainability. This has included building a polytunnel and stone compost areas. Their ambitions for the coming year are to build raised beds and produce chutneys and apple pies from the recently planted trees.
Mr Simpson said “It was a pleasure to meet with Lee and the members of the allotment group. People with an experience of a mental health problem such as low mood, anxiety, schizophrenia or bipolar can often feel isolated in their homes. This type of environment is very peaceful and inclusive for all involved.
“Seeing the produce that their hard work has delivered was an inspiration. It was great to see the camaraderie within the team and the enjoyment exhibited by the group with the success of the project. Not all members have access to a garden at home, so coming here lets everyone learn new skills and also take home fresh fruit and vegetables they have grown themselves.
“I was able to see how this project allows members to improve their problem solving and communication skills, which will be of great benefit in their daily lives. I hope to be invited back to see how group’s ambitions with the allotment develop in the future”.