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'Can Do' Gardening

This volunteering project in Southend was designed to transform an overgrown, unused site into a working allotment...

Howdens are the main funders of Leonard Cheshire Disability’s flagship volunteering programme ‘Can Do’, running in 18 locations across the UK.

This volunteering project in Southend was designed to transform an overgrown, unused site into a working allotment. The project began in January so the group worked in all weathers with lots of energy and enthusiasm every week. Tasks included clearing the site with rakes, shears and other tools, measuring the plot to plan the layout for the site and then building their design. This included raised beds, woodchip paths, rotating the shed to a better position, compost heaps and storage areas. 

The participants also assisted other members of the allotment, including digging a pond for a new wildlife garden. The participants took ownership for the allotment, regularly expressing and inputting their ideas, learning how to use tools safely and correctly, and developing their skills in construction and gardening. They worked as a team supporting each other when needed, recognising what their individual strengths were, and problem solving along the way.

This project has helped the participants massively. As Jayden said, “before joining Can Do, I hid away from other people because I was scared. I still do, but less now”; Alex added, “working at Can Do has helped me interact with my friends and work as a team.”