This year the NECA Allotment in Darlington hopes to continue to develop and grow, building on the various projects already undertaken in previous years.
In 2016, the group attendance was good with a core group expecting to return and many others expressing a keen interest to participate when the allotment re-opens at the end of February 2017.
In March 2016 we sadly lost one of our long-standing clients, David, in whose memory we have created the Remembrance Orchard to celebrate the dedication and the passion for the allotment that he possessed. The Orchard has been planted with fruit trees, Spring bulbs and insect-friendly wildflowers and we expect it to look fantastic in full bloom. A bench has also been restored and is pictured with a number of clients.
Throughout the year, we always endeavour to include projects at the allotment for both groups and individuals, which enable the clients to improve their social skills, take responsibility and feel more motivated through increasing their self-esteem.
Working in conjunction with the Art & Media group, two smartly dressed scarecrows were constructed and both will stand guard over the allotment.
Previous group projects include the laying of gravel throughout the main part of the allotment. This included several clients, all of whom worked as a team transforming the allotment as shown in the images below.
Individual projects included one client designing and building a small pathway leading to the fruit cage through a small section of the Remembrance Orchard. At first he was unsure of his own ability, however as he progressed through the creation of the path, his self-esteem grew and we were thoroughly impressed with his handiwork.
Being able to take responsibility for certain aspects of the allotment has resulted in improved self confidence. One client (pictured) was shown how to plant and tend leeks and the end result was certainly impressive.