Microgardening project

Vanclaron operates a Microgardening project which aims to bring planting and growing to people, regardless of how urban or small their home is. This project includes opportunities to participate in growing produce indoors, vertical planting for microgardens and improving their local environment in urban or neglected areas in and around Nottinghamshire. This project was developed partly based on the limited engagement that some of our wellbeing services were getting from male BAME community members. Feedback from service users and potential service users was that many of the typical wellbeing-focussed activities which were operating in the area lacked relevance for men from BAME communities generally and for BAME men seeking Asylum within the UK
specifically. Planting was put forwards as a suggestion and was selected, due to its relevance for many of our service users who have horticultural backgrounds, the wide and varied mental health benefits associated with gardening,  the potential to reduce outgoing costs, the physical health benefits and more.

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Week one involved selecting seeds that it was the right time of year to plant and getting the seeds prepared into the perfect conditions for germination. Despite some initial scepticism from some service users, two weeks later we arrived to deliver our regular session to find a group of around ten men proudly clutching their newly sprouted plants ready to rehouse them into bigger pots and a further ten men with them requesting to become involved in the project. The project has continued to grow (pun intended!) from strength to strength. Service users have described how their confidence and self-esteem have developed through their participation in this project and as each new plant sprouts, new enthusiasm sprouts with it. We are in the process of growing sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, cucumbers, cress, oregano, chives and more! Our longer term goal is to develop a home-grown, healthy community food bank.