Norwich project celebrates 10 years of using horticulture to help people
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A Norwich project that uses horticulture to help people in need of support is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Strong Roots, based at Northside Bluebell Allotments, in The Avenues, held a special open day on Friday to mark its milestone. The lord mayor of Norwich, Marion Maxwell, joined in the celebrations along with people who have been helped by the project, volunteers and trustees.
Lucy Scurfield, co-ordinator of Strong Roots, who founded the project, said she believed it had helped more than 200 people in the last decade.
'It's about combining psychological therapy with being in a garden setting,' she said.
'People have often said that they find coming to an open, natural, space very relaxing and calming, and I think the fact that it's a community space – it's not an institution, it's not in a building – they find it easier to relax and to talk. A lot of people have said they are inspired by seeing what is growing here.'
Strong Roots has a quadruple allotment plot which has been developed into a shared garden and is looked after by dedicated volunteers. People who come to the project for support do not have to have any gardening experience, but they have the opportunity to help work on the allotment and enjoy the surroundings.
Through connecting with nature, the aim is to help promote good physical and mental health, reduce feelings of social isolation, boost confidence and help people work through any issues they may face.
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When asked how she felt about the project celebrating 10 years, Ms Scurfield said: 'I feel very proud of it and it has inspired me to want to continue in these difficult times.'
She said Strong Roots had received a number of different grants over the years but that it was currently reliant on donations.
'Being outside is something that really helps people... It's a community project which I think makes it invaluable,' she said.
Ms Scurfield paid tribute to the volunteers who keep the Strong Roots' garden in order, the project's trustees, and supporters including Norwich City Council.
Visit www.strongroots.org.uk or call Lucy Scurfield on 07746 364668 for more details or to help.