Volunteers give Leeds allotment an eco makeover

TRANSFORMATION: Leeds Recovery Academy volunteers in Hyde Park.
TRANSFORMATION: Leeds Recovery Academy volunteers in Hyde Park.
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A group of volunteers recovering from drug and alcohol issues have teamed up to transform a neglected allotment.

Ten members of the Leeds Recovery Academy support group donned their gardening gloves to spruce up the plot in Hyde Park as part of the Grow Together eco-therapy project.

After clearing the land, the group hope to plant herbs, wild flowers, fruit and vegetables over the next nine weeks.

Project leader Claire Doble has been impressed with their progress so far.

“This eco-therapy course gets our service users into the fresh air. You can see how much it means to the group and how they are taking ownership of the project.

“When we first took hold of the plot, it was a bit of a wilderness but everyone’s pitched in and we’re really looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour.”

The session is run by the Behla Hutchinson from Hyde Park Source, an environmental charity based on Rosebank Bank Road.

“It’s important for everyone to get outside and be physically active in a social environment- sharing skills, building friendships and feeling good about it. It doesn’t matter if people have loads of experience or none, everyone is welcome,” said Behla, who has also been helping to prepare the plot for planting.

Their first tasks have been to clear a path, tidy the allotment, build new raised flower beds and de-weed the soil.

The Grow Together group is part of a wider research project which aims to use gardening, growing and permaculture as a tool to build positive social networks and prevent drug and alcohol use.

The Recovery Academy is open to any Leeds resident who has experienced problems with drug or alcohol dependence.