Katie's Diary

Creating Community Spirit

29th November 2016

There was a lot of waste land by the side of a house in Darlington where ubu serves a diverse group of people to live independently in their own flats. It always looked a bit of any eye sore to the people who live and work in the building and to their neighbours.

Chris, who is the ubu Service Manager of the building wanted to transform the land so it could be appreciated by everyone. “I asked the people we enable who live in these flats if they had any ideas what we could do with this spare land” said Chris. “I had an idea which I suggested of making an allotment there and making the land productive and beautiful again”.

At first the people who live in the building supported by ubu said they weren’t very interested in growing vegetables. Chris felt that it was a shame because there seemed to be a really great opportunity available for everyone to get involved in. “On the same day I was talking to one of our neighbours ‘Jim’ who lives with his wife in the retirement flats next door. We got talking about gardening and Jim said that was one thing he missed since moving to his flat.”

This gave Chris some encouragement to take his idea a bit further. He got in touch with the Housing Association who owned the land asked if the spare land could be turned into a Community Allotment. The Housing Association liked the idea and Chris got the go-ahead to get the project organised.

“I gave Jim the news” says Chris “and he was over-joyed and got started on the next day.” While Jim was doing the digging he was joined by Metallica, one the people who lives in the building enabled by ubu. Metallica helped Jim clear the rubbish first so that they could see what they would be dealing with.

The next day Jim was digging and he was joined by Glyn who lives in one of  the ubu support flats. Over the next few weeks Jim was joined by everyone who lives in the ubu support. They all helped with different things like digging, planting, watering and making cups of tea.

As the months went on other people, neighbours who lived next door, came to admire the results of their hard work. “We have tomatoes, potatoes, beans, different kinds of lettuce, beetroot, strawberries, carrots, onions and a herb garden. We have already had a crop of potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries which were enjoyed by everyone”.

The allotment has been a great success even though at the beginning nobody seemed to want to put their time and energy into the project.  They have created something beautiful and they are enjoying sharing the results. Now everyone feels proud of what they have achieved, working together with other people in the community.

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