Suzie Wilson - IncludeMe2
Our group is called the #allotmentangels and we are a part of of Includeme2 club are based in Reidvale Community Allotment in Dennistoun, Glasgow. We meet 4 times a week and sometimes 5 and are currently volunteering over 100 hours a week!
A number of the members of Includeme2 club are adults who have additional support needs and disabilities. They are a big part in the garden and allotment, where they learn new skills every day and enjoying growing from seed to ground to plate. They love to show off their vegetables to friends and family!
Other volunteers are seniors from the local sheltered housing who are loving being in the outdoors and getting stuck in with gardening. Friendships are an important part too, as spending time with lots of different age groups which is helping to combat loneliness. Great friendships are formed and with the age of our volunteers being from 4yrs to 92yrs, there are a wide range of skills and experience!
We have a group of ASN adults from the John Orr Day Centre who walk to the allotment and spend the day with us having their lunch and learning about vegetables once a month and taking part in planting etc. Local people who overlook the allotment also come to help. They are delighted to receive a herb plant or lettuce to take home as their reward. It helps to have friends of the allotment who live nearby as they help keep an eye on the space for any strange activity.
Great friendships are formed and with the age of our volunteers being from 4yrs to 92yrs, there are a wide range of skills and experience! We are so lucky to have a tranquil therapeutic vibrant colourful space shared by so many.
We started the garden in April 2018 with 2 raised beds, they had lain empty for years and were overgrown with weeds. We now have 4 raised beds and a great chunk of land that was lumpy bumpy weedy and overgrown.
The initial transformation of our plot took about 9 months due to the donations and volunteering of local people, friends, family, groups and 2 corporate groups. Thousands of hours were given to get everything done with a lot of blood sweat and tears. The project has had no funding as is fully run by volunteers. The "funding" has been Donations of materials from amazing local businesses who also have their community at heart. I have personally worked with them over the years and they know their help is vital. Our allotment is in a highly deprived area in the urban heart of Glasgow. Our garden is the talk of the East End of Glasgow as people just cannot believe the change.
Our allotment features:
- Scottish country garden,
- Raised pallet herb garden,
- 4 raised beds abundant with every kind of vegetable,
- Forest of courgettes, pumpkins and gourds.
- 3 tier raised bed made from pallets filled with strawberry plants
- Every kind of lettuce and salad veg
- Raised bed using square foot gardening
- 3 vertical sculptured wigwams for peas, green beans and mange tout
- Sunflower seated area where you can sit surrounded by sunflowers and take shelter from the sun.
- Sensory pathway made from different coloured decorative stones
- Bridge made from pallets
- Pond which is right beside our grow wild garden
Our future plans for the space are for more local residents to visit and take part in growing their own veg and the involvement of even more Includeme2 club members having a great gardening experience.
What our community has to say!
"I have followed Susan and the allotment angels' work over the last year and the transformation has been truly impressive to see. The transformations hasn't just been in the beautiful garden that has been created, with great imagination, but also to witness the growing confidence and enthusiasm of the young people who have created it. I am looking forward to tasting some of the excellent produce when it comes into season."
- Local MP Paul Sweeney
"The Allotment Angels project which is part of Includeme2 club has been a fantastic success driven by Susan. The allotment/garden has brought so many benefits to the members who have additional support needs and disabilities, learning new skills every week , connecting with lots of different groups and local people in their community
The group have achieved an unbelievable transformation in such a short space of time. The energy and team effort of all the volunteers and members has been so beneficial to everyone involved. Mentally and physically rewarding."
- Paul Mcilvenny - Includeme2 Club Founder and Chairperson
"During our visits Susan and practitioners work closely with the children to explore experiences that develop an awareness of planting, growing and sustainability. Susan and her volunteers have very kindly helped us to transform our allotment area which has provided the children with opportunities for enriched learning experiences. "
-Onslow Dr Nursery
Published in the Sunday Mirror
Whether it’s a tiny seed growing into a giant sunflower or individual people coming together to make a difference in their local area, gardening is all about transformation. Often the change we make through gardening is significant and this journey deserves to be documented. Cultivation Street’s annual competition prides itself on encouraging hardworking gardeners pause and celebrate the dramatic affect they are having by greening grey spaces.
When submitting to the Cultivation Street competition, we’ll inspire you to take lots of photographs to support your entry but also for you to reflect on and feel inspired. Images of summer gardens in full bloom can help motivate you though the winter, when planning for the growing year ahead.
Suzan Wilson, from IncludeMe2 community garden in Glasgow, captured their garden with before and after photographs that perfectly showcase the handwork and commitment that their group epitomises. Meeting up to 5 times a week, Suzan and her band of willing volunteers have turned a rough patch of ground, into a mini oasis in the heart of the busy city.
Suzan explains how diverse groups of people can come together to transform not only the ground beneath their feet, but also the lives of those who work on it, saying: “A number of our volunteers are adults with additional support needs and disabilities, and they play a huge part in our project. They work extremely hard while at the same time learning new life skills and above all, making new friends. Seniors from the local sheltered housing also enjoy lending a hand. With volunteers ranging from 4 – 92 years of age, interesting new friendships are formed and spending time with lots of different age groups is helping towards combating loneliness.”
If you and your community have been busy transforming your surroundings, why not enter the Cultivation Street competition, sponsored by Calliope®, by visiting cultivationsteet.com