Regular garden meetings & activities to promote gardening, social
& language skills.

Description of the activity

Participants carry out gardening activities, led by volunteers on the allotment plot. Working together they grow fruit and vegetables, which are then used in the group lunches. These gardening sessions take place on a weekly basis, usually involving around 15 participants and 4 volunteers. Participants are sometimes invited to lead elements of the session to help embed and share the skills and knowledge they have.

Gardening is a good activity for many reasons. It keeps people active, grows healthy food, and in many cases stimulates memories of home and childhood for people now living in an unfamiliar country.


Gardening skills and experience are essential, and training in therapeutic horticulture is very useful when working with this group of people. The project runs using permaculture principles so an understanding of these is also helpful.

Volunteers running the activity need to have a welcoming and positive attitude.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

Volunteers plan the session in advance based on what needs doing in the garden. They decide who will lead each part of the session.

Participants arrive at the allotment site and are greeted by volunteers.

They discuss the work plan and divide up jobs.

Some participants and a volunteer prepare lunch.

Everyone stops and eats a group lunch together. A different person each week is responsible for serving the food, and it is very important that everyone gets the same so that everything is fair.

A volunteer reimburses participants their travel money.

Over lunch everyone discusses what progress they have made and what work needs to be done next.

Everyone leaves.

Materials and methods

2 x polytunnels
Shipping container (secure storage)

Materials and human resources:
Gardening tools Seeds
Volunteers to lead the session

1 day per week.

The project as a whole costs around £10.000 per year, but most of this is not directly related to the gardening activity.

Learning outcomes for the participants

Learning outcomes include:

  • Gardening skills

  • Language skills

  • Developing new social relationships

  • Sharing and demonstrating their own skills and knowledge

  • Improved confidence

  • Improved mental health and wellbeing

  • TOP