Hope springs eternal at allotments

Feature on Hope Springs Horticulture, the community group has recently recieved Lottery funding, pictured from left are Kevin Turner, Frank Turnbull with Jip, Helen Power, Linda Bowskill, Anita Burnett, Peter Giles and Sue Hobson (w130301-1a)

Feature on Hope Springs Horticulture, the community group has recently recieved Lottery funding, pictured from left are Kevin Turner, Frank Turnbull with Jip, Helen Power, Linda Bowskill, Anita Burnett, Peter Giles and Sue Hobson (w130301-1a)

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They say that hope springs eternal, and nowhere is that truer than in the garden.

It’s always an act of faith planting small seeds into barren earth and waiting for something to grow, often battling garden pests and the elements.

But the results make all worthwhile. Which is why it seems appropriate that horticultural therapy is helping people in Worksop with mental health difficulties.

Hope Springs Horticulture is a community interest company set up last year by Helen Power and Anita Burnett, who used to work for the mental health charity Rethink.

One of their three projects is at the Cheapside allotments in Manton.

Helen said: “The project used to be run by Rethink and has been going since 1997. It was funded by Notts County Council but when the funding finished Rethink decided it wasn’t financially viable.”

“Anita and I were made redundant so we decided to set up a community interest company and run it ourselves.”

They have just been granted £168,000 of Lottery funding, spread over the next five years.

And the people who tend the project’s six allotments are grateful that they did keep it going.

Peter Giles, 54, of Retford, who was pricking out cabbages and cauliflowers in the poly tunnel, said he found it helped with depression.

“I’ve been coming here for about four years and it helps me. If you keep busy it stops you thinking about things.”

“I look forward to coming here and meeting people. We grow everything from seed and the digging can be hard work, but it’s good to eat what you’ve grown and eat healthily.”

Linda Bowskill, 66, of Prospect, said she found gardening was therapeutic.

She has created her own small garden on the allotments, with ornaments, bushes, and even a small pond.

“I’ve been coming here quite a long while and I enjoy it. If I get upset gardening makes me feel better,” she said.

“I’m shaping the bush into a dog and I’ve got daffodils coming up. Gardening is like therapy.”

Sue Hobson, 70, of Manton Villas, used to have two of her own allotments at Cheapside, but decided they were getting too much for her, so she volunteered to help Hope Springs instead.

“I didn’t want to give up gardening and I can pass on my advice to the people here now,” she said.

Frank Turnbull, 60, of Harworth, also helps out as a volunteer.

“We grown all sorts, leeks, tomatoes, potatoes. We eat what we grow and I would recommend it to anyone,” he said.

And Kevin Turner, 52, of Vessey Road, Worksop, said it helped his mental health and he had learnt a lot about gardening.

He said: “It’s good to get out of the house and be doing something to keep you occupied.”

For more information go to hopespringshorticulture.co.uk or phone 07587 140458.