Green-fingered volunteers transform allotment for mental health group

Volunteers from the Bank of Scotland, Papermill Gardens staff, and member of the the New Shoots Gardening Group

The New Shoots Gardening Group in Aberdeen welcomed a team of volunteers to their allotment day earlier this month.

New Shoots is made up of people supported by Papermill Gardens, a mental health service which supports people living in individual tenancies provided by Langstane Housing Association. The gardening group encourages people to get active and meet new people.

On Friday (4 August) Bank of Scotland volunteers joined the group and staff from Papermill for an allotment day. A previous gardening session planned for last month was called off due to bad weather.

After sharing a gardening tips, and with a healthy dose of enthusiasm, the green-fingered team began pulling weeds and tilling the soil. Over the course of a day the allotment transformed from overgrown wilderness into a peaceful haven.

James, a member of New Shoots, said it was a good to see the allotment transform.

“At the start of the day it was a daunting experience seeing the mess and being among so many people I did not know. But by the end of the day I felt good and I had accomplished something positive. I really enjoyed seeing the progress we made.”

The revived green space will be used to support the recovery of people experiencing mental health difficulties.

It is hoped the allotment will encourage physical activity, and reduce loneliness and boost self-esteem by supporting regular social contact for service users. Being surrounded by nature is also known to boost mood and increase wellbeing.

Arun Jacob, Relationship Manager at Bank of Scotland, said the volunteers enjoyed their visit.

“Our Aberdeen Corporate and Private Banking colleagues had a wonderful and rewarding experience spending the day with staff and services users of Penumbra. Working together, we transformed the allotment land into a beautiful garden and vegetable patch. We were inspired by the fantastic work Penumbra does locally, and across Scotland to promote mental health and wellbeing.”

Billy, another member of the New Shoots group, said he could not wait to get back into the revitalised allotment.

“The allotment is fun and is very good for relaxation and learning about plants. We worked with the people from the Bank of Scotland to build a path and a patio and I even returned on Tuesday with staff to build a poly tunnel. I now have my own plot which is planted with vegetables! I can’t wait to harvest it.”


More information

For more information please contact Robin Murphy on 0131 475 2569 or communications@penumbra.org.uk.

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