A story by Unity Enterprise
Nurtured Nature is our Carers allotment project. The adult group meet weekly and attend individually. All 6 of our Young Carers groups take turns at attending. It gives Carers a chance of fresh air and exercise, learning new skills, new friendships and sampling the produce.
What Nurtured Nature did
Part time worker 10 hours per week, Volunteer 2 hours per week, 2 new volunteers interested at present.
The allotment in Kilwinning has been advertised in each newsletter, leaflets and posters are up in the Centre and taken to outreach and events. Pictures of the allotment and related activities have been in our newsletter. The Carers Trust also had an article in their e-newsletter. When we attend talks to other agencies etc we inform them of the allotment.
Adult Carers attend as a group once a week or meet in the Centre if it is too wet. Young Carer groups have been attending on a regular basis. Adult Carers also attend at other times after they have had an induction session. At the allotment the Adult Carers assist in the upkeep of the plot usually doing a little weeding or planting but, mainly interact with others making new friendships and have a break from their caring role. No pressure is put on them to do any work whilst they are there. They have enjoyed being able to learn new skills and take home fresh produce.
The Young Carers decided on what they wanted to grow, helped with the upkeep of that section, especially the strawberry bed!, Made bug houses, have a wormery, observed the local wildlife.
We have been able to make a great improvement to the plot this year and have had a very good yield of crops. In the Centre the Adults planned for the year, attended demonstrations and talks e.g hanging baskets, flower arranging, food and wellbeing talk etc. 18 Adults Carers and 3 staff had a very successful outing to Ayr Flower Show. We are currently planning for next spring.
What Unity Enterprise has learnedIt has given us the chance to diversify in the way we can provide support to Carers of all ages. Having a part time worker to oversee the project has allowed us to achieve greater success than we could have imagined. Other staff have not needed to spend as much time on the upkeep of the allotment. We were delighted when we won the community allotment award in September.
The unexpected challenges have been wet and windy weather at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014, we quickly realised we could not have a poly tunnel, and needed to wait for the ground to dry out before rotovating the soil. Vandalism has also been an issue and all equipment etc needs to be brought back to the Centre or taken home by our worker after every visit.
Once adult Carers have attended an induction they are able to attend the allotment at a time that suits themselves. The Carers have had an input into the way the plot is laid out and what to grow. We offer the service to all new Carers on registration and have ensured it is publicised in each newsletter we produce, that leaflets and posters are displayed, it is also advertised on North Ayrshire Council CARENA website, to enable us to reach as many different Carers as possible.