Root’n’Fruit ReviewArticle Written:
Community gardening has taken place at Root’n’Fruit on Tuesdays all year round, and Fridays during the Spring and Summer. Saltbox have attended most weeks with clients and local residents have also attended throughout the year. The visitors enjoy learning how to grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers, as well as learning how to maintain the allotment. They take part in all aspects of maintaining an allotment, from sowing seeds to producing home-made compost. The sessions provide a safe space for residents to socialise in an outdoor space, with refreshments available each session. Throughout 2022 there have been 73 Sessions with 444 attendances, made up of 79 individuals. 58 of these individuals were newly engaged.
We received a grant from Tesco to weatherproof the existing summerhouse on site and to build a new tool shed as the old one was in disrepair. Our regular visitors, along with staff and volunteers, were successful in completing the project as a team. We made the plans of how to weatherproof the summerhouse by treating the roof, treating the timber, and laying a new floor. We also fitted new worktops to provide an area for making hot drinks for visitors. We drew up designs on building a shed from scratch, measured for materials, ordered the materials, and did all the manual labour. Everyone involved have gained many new skills in construction, woodworking, working as a team, problem solving, as well as seeing an improvement in their physical and mental wellbeing. The Individuals involved have all felt immense pride in the finished project.
Family gardening sessions have taken place in the Easter Holidays, May half term and the summer holidays. There have been 9 sessions in total, with 238 attendances from 143 people. 81 of these people were newly engaged to us. 54 Families have enjoyed taking part in a variety of gardening and nature craft activities. They were able to find out all about the different types of fruit and vegetables we grow on the allotment, learn new gardening skills and harvest various crops to taste and take home. They explored the allotment, investigated our different wildlife habitats such as the frog pond and bee houses, and hunted for bugs and discovered many different species! Each week there were craft activities using lots of resources found around the allotment.
In October, we held our annual Pumpkin Party at Root’n’Fruit. 156 people attended the 3 hour event and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. There was hot food, snacks & drinks on offer for donations and lots of free activities for the whole family. Visitors took part in pumpkin carving, marshmallow toasting around the fire, seed sowing and a large variety of crafts. There was a prize raffle and a tombola for people who wanted to take part. The event raised £380 in donations.
Rootin’ Fruitin’ Christmas Party
In December, we held our first Christmas party at Root’n’Fruit and 135 people attended. All children visited Santa in his grotto and received a tin of biscuits and a book each. Councillor Lesley Adams held a Christmas themed photo-shoot outdoors for everyone who came, free of charge. There were hot & cold refreshments, marshmallow toasting and lots of Christmas themed crafts. All adults who attended got an entry to a free raffle, which had a variety of great prizes. And in addition, children completed a nature trail around the allotment and received a free lucky dip prize.