“Singing is good for the soul and so is gardening. This is another ingenious scheme from ASCEND to encourage people, to give them confidence in their skills and to have a good time getting their hands muddy. I’m proud to be patron of ASCEND and wish them luck with this excellent idea. I shall be hoping for some potatoes come the autumn!”
Quote from Gareth Malone – Tuesday, June 29th 2010
A charity-run Dig Deep allotment project in South Oxhey was officially opened today.
ASCEND, based at All Saints’ Church, in Gosforth Lane, offers courses to help people back into work, including the project at Crowborough Path allotment.
ASCEND aquired the land, belonging to Three Rivers District Council, on a five year least last November.
Ten newly qualified students, funded by West Herts College have build bird boxes, planted seeds, tomatoes and peas on the site. Students Annie Boyce, Russel Axtell, Jamie Newberry, Kenneth Prescott, Cherie Schomberg, Tiffany Chan, Frances McAndrew, Steven Valentine, Steven Shallet and Lee Hall were presented with certificates.
Steven Valentine, 37 from Russell Way, said: “When we first got here there was nothing. I tried to dig into the soil and it bent the fork”.
“Now there are potato plants, peas and strawberries, when they’re all grown I hope we can have a barbecue here”.
“I’ve hung a hanging basket and bird box outside my house for my daughter, Gracie, who is seven”.
South Oxhey Neighbourhood Sergeant Luke Mitchell said: “The kids used to come down and drink alcohol here, it was a common problem for so long. Now, because it’s an active site the problem has gone away”.
Leader of Three Rivers Council Ann Shaw officially opened the allotment today.
She said: “Anyone can be a gardener, all you need is patience, a little muscle power and a philosophical approach. We can all share the wonderful experience of planting a seed and watching it grow and enjoying it in any number of ways.”
A second intake of students started work on Tuesday, June 8th. the charity hopes the scheme will encourage young people to get active and help the unemployed back into work.
Article taken from the Watford Observer – 30th June 2010