(3 minute read)
In this blog, we talk to Annette Kerr, Community Investment Officer at Taff Housing Association
In the last year, many of us would have experienced isolation and loneliness as the opportunity to get outside and connect with our environment was limited.
Taff has for many years offered customers the opportunity to grow produce at our allotment space which is located in the heart of Cardiff. We saw that through the pandemic the use of urban green spaces became even more important for people and the need for this group grew.
So we set out to increase our allotment offering and, with the support of Cardiff Council, were able to secure a second plot that has allowed the community at our allotment to expand. The passion from growers has meant that the allotment has been able to adapt and become an accessible space for all by changing its offering to people no matter their physical ability, background or experience.
And throughout lockdown, the allotment has been socially prescribed to help those struggling with mental health or feelings of isolation. Recently a gentleman had said to me that if they hadn’t started at the allotment, they honestly didn’t know where they would be today. They were living alone, never went out socially and feeling depressed. They are now there almost every day come rain or shine and have made some great friends. They are growing their own produce and they feel better because of that.
In Mental Health Awareness week we can’t underestimate how important it is to connect with our outside spaces, and as a community-based organisation, we listen to the feedback from our customers and will continue to try and build opportunities that enable connection with nature. The Taff allotment not only helps to create friendships but has also helped families teach children sustainable growing and the importance of a healthy balanced diet – something that we also know is pivotal to supporting mental health.