Katie was referred to Walton Charity’s Community Allotment six months ago and has been attending the group sessions twice a week.
When previous jobs and volunteer placements came to an end, Katie spent most of her time at home. Although she enjoys time on her own, she missed being part of a group.
“It’s nice to be part of a group with friendly people. Everyone at the allotment just gets along. I’ve started joining in and got to know people better.”
From planting seeds, to harvesting the vegetables, Katie loves getting stuck in at the allotment. She also enjoys taking the fresh vegetables home to cook.
“I like being around other people and learning about new plants. I like being outdoors and not stuck inside getting bored. There are also plenty of vegetables at the end of it! There’s nothing here I don’t like. It’s amazing. I just love it.”
For Katie’s mum, the Community Allotment has been a chance for Katie to get out of the house and regain some independence: “We’re together all the time so it’s nice to know that twice a week she’s going somewhere where I know she’s safe and she’s enjoying it.
“I have never seen her so happy. And I feel better because I know she’s going somewhere she can be herself. I know she’s ok. She was so inwards before. Apart from family, she wouldn’t really spend time with other people. Now she comes home from the allotment and tells me what she’s been doing that day. It gives her something to look forward to each week.
“It has been great for her and for me. It gives me a break which I don’t ever get. And she comes home and is really happy. It’s the best thing she’s ever done.”
For Karen Heynike, Walton Charity’s Land and Estates Manager, the project is a lot more that growing vegetables: “The Community Allotment has a very magical feel. It’s safe, it’s calm and it’s pretty. I can see the enthusiasm in Katie’s face when she’s here.”