The growing Keighley project tackles loneliness
A PROJECT that helps people grow their own fruits and vegetables helps fight loneliness.
Get Out More CIC and its Edible Streets project are among initiatives across the UK that have stepped up to help people who feel isolated during the pandemic.
The project, which received nearly £ 9,000 in National Lottery funding to bring people together by making gardening accessible to older residents, was highlighted by the National Lottery Community Fund during Loneliness Awareness Week.
The fund focused on how local charities and community groups help tackle social isolation in their areas.
Over the past five years, nearly £ 700million in National Lottery funding has been distributed to charities that fight loneliness and social isolation and build connections and relationships.
In Yorkshire and Humber alone, 318 projects have received a share of more than £ 13.4million since the start of the pandemic to tackle the problem.
The money received by Keighley-based Get Out More has enabled the project to provide gardening supplies, planters, compost, seeds, plants and fruit trees to aspiring gardeners in the most disadvantaged areas of the city.
Weekly tours have helped green-fingered residents between the ages of 55 and 90 grow their own fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs in gardens or hanging and wall baskets where outdoor space is limited.
The gardening sessions helped create a common interest among neighbors, sparking conversations that brought the community closer together. Sessions were held with both individual households and with socially distant groups – planting hanging baskets with flowers and herbs.
Participants are encouraged and supported to grow all kinds of produce including pear and cherry, currant, potato, Spanish bean, rhubarb, strawberry, nasturtium and lavender, as well as herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano and sage.
According to the National Lottery Community Fund’s most recent community research index – a survey of more than 7,000 people across the UK – nearly half of those polled said tackling loneliness and isolation was an important priority for the coming year.
And research also reveals that the number of people in the UK feeling ‘often’ or ‘always’ lonely has jumped by more than one million since last year, from 2.6 million to 3.7 million.
Annie Berrington, CEO of Get Out More CIC, said: “Thanks to the National Lottery players, we were able to bring people together through gardening, allowing them to share common experiences with their neighbors, while learning how to cultivate their crops. own products and spending time outdoors improving their physical and mental well-being.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Get Out More found that many older members of the Keighley community felt lonely, suffered from depression and were bored from inactivity.
“So far the results of the project are fantastic and residents are delighted to see the first fruits appear on their trees. Neighbors help each other and feel happier and more active. The project continues to grow stronger, with the number of participants doubling from the start of the program as the news spreads and more community members want to join. ”
The National Lottery Community Fund has also partnered with the government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports on the Local Connections Fund, a £ 4million program designed to help build connections within communities. .
Earlier this year, more than 850 community groups benefited from the first round of grants from the Local Connections Fund, with the second round being open for applications on June 28.
For more information, visit tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/local-connections-fund.