A local homeless charity has launched an ambitious scheme to transform an allotment area into a haven of peace and reflection for vulnerable adults.
The project marks the 35th anniversary of The Friary in West Bridgford, which is appealing for funding to bring the plans to fruition.
The Friary has helped hundreds of people through its drop-in centre and outreach work. Demand for its services has increased by more than a third over the past year alone. The charity has helped more than 850 vulnerable people in the last 12 months.
The allotment scheme has been kick-started by a £10,000 donation from the award-winning PR and marketing agency Arch Communications, which is also based in Rushcliffe. As well as the financial contribution, the company is supporting the charity with PR on a pro-bono basis.
The project will see the charity’s three allotments in West Bridgford re-vamped to create a quiet and creative space, where service users can help to grow vegetables, learn new crafts and practice mindfulness.
With the help of volunteers, the allotments already produce one tonne of produce a year. This is used by the charity’s drop-in centre on Musters Road or given away to other good causes.
The Chief Executive of The Friary, Ben Talbot, said: “These allotments will provide the perfect place for our clients to learn new skills, while also helping their mental health and giving them a sense of purpose.
“We started to draw-up some proposals for the allotments a few years ago, but then the pandemic came along and we had to abandon the idea. We’re extremely grateful to Arch Communications for their financial and practical support, which is now helping to get the whole idea off the ground.
“Our clients already feel part of The Friary family and, with the valuable help of our volunteers, we hope this will be a space they can feel part of too.”
Based in East Leake, Arch Communications believes in ploughing profits back into the community. The firm has donated over £165,000 to local good causes through donations and unpaid work.
Arch Communications founder and Director Matt Youdale said: “We’ve been aware of The Friary’s excellent work for some time, so when we heard about this project we were keen to help bring it to fruition. As well as providing the initial funding, our practical support is part of our whole business ethos.”
Part of the donation from Arch has already paid for the replacement of an old wooden-framed greenhouse with a brand new high-spec greenhouse with tempered safety glass. There are further plans to improve the infrastructure, with a range of new facilities for things like woodwork, arts & crafts and meditation.
The Friary hopes to attract further funding for the ongoing management of the allotments and the supervision of visitors.
The Friary hopes to attract further funding, to employ someone to manage the project. Donations can be made via: www.justgiving.com/campaign/35th.
Photo: The Friary Chief Executive, Ben Talbot (left) with the Director of Arch Communications, Matt Youdale, at the charity’s allotments.