Report by Andrew Farmer, MERCi on behalf of the Joint Health Unit March 2006

Proof reading
Catriona Fothergill, Simon Hollinworth, Barbara Lewis, Caroline Downey, Keith Adams.

Supplying information sources
Caroline Downey, Richard Howarth, Lucy Nobes, Christine Raiswell, Doug Inchbold, Hazel Andrews, Mick Pierce, Claire McMullen,Mike Craven, Dr Jo Aldridge.

For all their help and support
All staff at MERCi, Joint Health Unit, Zest, PACE.

Picture Postcards
Local Agenda 21 website –

Contents 1. 2. 2.1 2.2 3. 4. 4.1 4.2 4.3 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Executive summary Introduction Summary of scheme Community Inclusion Ongoing support Aims and objectives Evidence of Need Government White Papers Educational Research Media Articles Pathways to Manchester Allotments Horticultural Projects in Manchester Cookery Courses in Manchester Food & Nutrition / Cooking Skill Courses available in Manchester Conclusions

This report has been compiled as a result of research carried out using various media. Government white papers, educational research papers, publications and media articles have been read and evaluated. Manchester's 40 allotment sites have been identified and contact details obtained. Horticultural projects in Manchester have been evaluated. Food/nutrition and cookery courses/training in Manchester have been mapped. It is the governments aim that people should choose for themselves how to improve their own health. Exercise and food are high priority items on the health agenda but has, until recently, been a low priority in the education sector. Recent research found that only 38% of 7 to 15 year olds could prepare a baked potato, this is hardly surprising when cooking classes in schools are the exception rather than the norm. Fewer people are cooking a meal from scratch than they were doing sixty years ago when the first surveys were carried out. Cook and taste sessions and cookery classes for the adult population in Manchester are few and far between The population of this country has a rising level of obesity and with this comes a plethora of health problems, which include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and back problems to name just a few. As much as 20% of the country's two year olds are listed as being clinically obese and this rises to 25% by the time they are sixteen. It has been muted that this will be as much as 40% by 2010 if current trends continue. Exercise on referral and dietary advice are aimed at remedying this but more efforts should be made to prevent this. Exercise and fresh food obtained from tending an allotment would go along way to achieving this. There has been an abundance of of research into the therapeutic value of horticulture for people suffering from mental illness and two projects by Loughborough and Dundee Universities have been evaluated. Dundee University are now carrying out research for the therapeutic value of horticulture for people with physical disabilities and it would be very interesting to read the results of this when they are available. Pathways to Manchester's allotments are varied but could be complimented by toilet facilities on all sites, improved security, a more structured marketing strategy and the introduction of a well marketed GP referral scheme. Funding would be required for a project coordinator, administration, plot rents, gardening equipment and tools and the buying in of the services of dietician's, physiotherapist's, horticultural therapist's and compost doctor. An Holistic approach to a GP referral scheme would include a horticultural therapist, and /or a physiotherapist, dietary advice, cookery training and advice on composting and organic gardening. It is proposed to set the scheme up with six plots on allotment sites or community gardens, two each in the three Primary

Care Trust area's of the City of Manchester. Each plot would be divided into four smaller plots, allowing access for twenty-four gardeners. Each participant would have an initial assessment by a dietician and physiotherapist and a personal work plan devised, this could then be monitored at regular intervals to ensure that the participant is getting the correct care and not exacerbating their health condition. A horticultural therapist would work with participants on a day to day bases and report to the steering group regularly. Cookery classes and recipe sheets would be a monthly activity to ensure that participants are aware of the uses of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Compost training and literature be given to participants at the outset of their therapy thus ensuring best horticultural practice.



1.1 Manchester's allotments are a green oasis with the potential to be used as green gyms for therapeutic horticulture. Gardening as a means of improving one's physical and mental well being is well documented. The growing of fresh fruit and vegetables on allotments provides the plot holder with the means for themselves and their families to meet their target of five – a – day portions as recommended by health professionals. Food miles are greatly reduced as most allotmenteers live only a short distance from their allotment site. In the main plotholders tend to garden organically, reducing the leaching of micro nutrients from the soil and the pollution of water courses. The plot provides fresh foods unadulterated by chemicals for the grower by limiting or omitting the usage of herbicides and pesticides. 1.2 Whilst exercise on referral schemes exist at present, allotments are an underused resource. Present schemes are far from inclusive, targeting only specific health problems and age groups. A well planned GP referral scheme or “allotment on prescription” would serve to redress this imbalance. The scheme would also go a long way to improving usage of allotments on derelict plots, a way of halting the trend of developers to move onto or buy up allotment land and building houses. 1.3 Allotments on Prescription or GP Referral Schemes have been advertised across the country in the past, however, there seems to be a lack of knowledge of these schemes ever existing. If requests are made there is very little information available about the success of these schemes or evaluation to assist further improvement. Preston, Nottingham, Stoke and Derby councils all promoted that they were operating this pathway to allotments several years ago and with the exception of Preston, none of these schemes are now operating. Bridewell Organic Gardens in Oxfordshire does run a PCT referral scheme for people suffering from mental health problems, although this is soon to be extended to include people with physical disabilities as well. 1.4 In this report we set out the aim of the project, describes the essential elements of the scheme and provide evidence of need for this scheme, and summarise the current activities that the scheme will build on and utilise, in order to ensure success – this includes current pathways to allotmenteers, horticultural training projects currently operating in Manchester and food/nutrition and cookery courses
in Manchester.

Manchester allotments that will compliment current exercise on referral schemes thereby having a greater chance of success than similar

2.1 The scheme would aim to work with Primary Care Trusts (PCT's) and other organisations to introduce a GP referral scheme to

schemes attempted throughout the UK.

2.2 Community Inclusion
Community participation is essential for the scheme's success. Allotments are communities in their own right and clients should feel that they are a part of this community. Potential clients should also be aware that this service is available to them. Promotion of the scheme could possibly include:
• • • •

recruiting existing allotmenteers to act as buddies for new participants on a voluntary basis.
a programme of advertising and publicity to raise awareness of the scheme. Encouraging GP's to refer patients. Running practical courses in horticulture and cookery and healthy eating.

2.3 Ongoing support
On going support would ensure that clients do not get despondent at an early stage and give up. It would also make sure that clients enjoyed the experience in a safe and structured way. Life skills would be learnt and would contribute to raising self esteem. Any health problems exacerbated by this increased physical activity could be identified early enough to make practical changes to the care plan.

The scheme has four aims:
• • • •

Improving peoples health and well being through horticultural therapy. Revitalisation of allotments through community engagement. Improving peoples diet through practical cooking and nutritional activities. Reduce the need for expensive medications.

To deliver these aims we will implement the following objectives:
• • •

Support participants in developing skills in horticulture and cooking. Provide an additional pathway to Manchester's allotments and regenerate some derelict under used plots. Provide the opportunity for people to make choices about their own well being.

Horticultural therapy has been well researched and documented and government initiatives suggest implementation of such practices as a means, not only for treatment but also as a preventative measure. Many forms of horticultural therapy are practised in Manchester, these do though appear to be aimed at specific target groups related to age or mental health criteria. The fact that there is some evidence of Horticulture being used as therapy in Manchester suggests that it does work.

4.1 Government White Papers
Government White Papers that advocate the benefits of horticultural therapy include Department of Health “Choosing Health” (November 2004), House of Commons – Health – Third Report 2003/04, The Select Committee on Environment and Regional Affairs (DTLR) Fifth Report (June 1998) The Future of Allotments and their subsequent publication “Growing in the Community” a good practice guide for the management of Allotments and Manchester City Councils Food Strategy “Food Futures” are readings used for the purpose of this report.

4.2 Educational Research
Educational Research has been carried out at two Universities recently, at Dundee “Social Inclusion and Nature Spaces in Cities” and Loughborough “Growing Together” look at definite attributes of horticultural therapy and mental health and conclusions from these are assessed for the purpose of this report.

4.3 Media Articles
Recent media articles that have a bearing on this report have also been appraised. A report that came to light as a result of a media article “Feeding Minds” written by the Mental Health Foundation and Sustain has been used to gain further evidence of need.

4.4 Publications
Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, has produced a publication “Hunger from the inside:” The experience of food poverty in the UK, which has been evaluated for the purpose of this report.

therapy project at Dartford Road Allotments, Dartford, Kent for mental health patients

Quality Environment for Dartford (QED) Allotments and Mental Health wrote about a project that they operate an horticultural The Governments Cleaner, Safer Greener Campaign reports on the environmental impact on peoples lives and well being

4.1.1 Choosing Health
A policy of the Department of Health was aimed at empowering the public (through consultation) to address their health needs by choosing a better diet and choosing more physical activity rather than have these issues imposed on them. Targets that it aimed to achieve were: Create an environment for people to make healthy choices, rather than imposing decisions • Support tailored to individual lives • Partnerships between the NHS, the voluntary sector, communities, the media, industry and others. It went on to say “Better information on nutrition and lifestyles will help to stimulate demand for healthier choices and influence market provision to ensure those choices are available”. Aims to ensure “delivery plans on physical activity and food” were cited. In the foreword Prime Minister Tony Blair said “it is for people to make healthy choices if they wish to adding, “I believe that Choosing Health will be a major step in making the improvement of everyone's health everyone's concern”

4.1.2 The House of Commons – Health -Third Report 2003/04
Lists diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and psychological damage as being directly attributable to overweight and obesity. Diabetes costs around 9% of the UK healthcare budget. 1 in 8 cancer deaths in the UK are as a direct result of obesity and 20 different cancers have been linked to this. Back pain caused by obesity is suggested to lead to 11million lost working days each year in the UK. Sequelae of depression and anxiety caused are 3 – 4 times higher amongst obese individuals. There is a 37% higher risk of suicide in obese woman than that of women of normal weight. The National Audit Office calculated that the cost of treating obesity to be (direct £46-49m), (consequences of obesity £945 -1,075m) and (indirect – mortality and sickness absence £2.3-2.55b) a total of (£2.300.991-2.551.024b) annually. However the House of Commons Clerk's Department Scrutiny disputed this and recalculated the figure to be more like £6.6 – 7.4billion per year.

4.1.3 “Growing in the Community” a good practice guide for the management of allotments:
Published in June 2001 by the DTLR, the Greater London Authority, The local Government Association and the Shell Better Britain Campaign, this was a direct result of the fifth report written by the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs entitled “The Future of Allotments”. The Future for Allotments report states under “Therapeutic Value” that “the potential role for allotments within the promotion of public health is significant. The committee “strongly recommend that the allotment provision be explicitly noted in national public health strategy and be integrated into the local delivery of that strategy”.”The mental health benefits for all plot-holders should not be underestimated” and in the section entitled “General Public” says “allotments also offer benefits to the community at large. In many urban areas they make a welcome contribution to green space, acting as a green lung. Manchester's own Councillor Keith Whitmore was one of the authors of this report. On page 83 reference to GP's prescribing allotments as a treatment for stress are documented. The report also praises Nottingham Local Authority for working with Health Authorities to promote the benefits of allotment gardening.

4.2.1 Social inclusion and nature spaces in cities
Research project undertaken by the Geography Department at the University of Dundee studied Ecoworks (an allotment project) in Nottingham and the Coach House Trust (Community Garden/Environment Project) in Glasgow. The user groups were people with mental health problems. The report states that “The physical layout and siting of allotment and garden sites can influence the opportunities for inclusionary social relations between project workers and the local communities. These workers or volunteers find

recommends that Horticultural Therapy and Social and Therapeutic Horticulture need a higher profile with Social and Health Care Services at a National level.
The Department of Social Science at Loughborough University, along with the horticultural therapy charity Thrive, studied vulnerable adults working on 900 projects operated by Thrive across the the UK. Tasks involved included planting, cultivating, growing and nurturing and physical work such as digging and construction. Other skills used were marketing and sales. Dr Jo Aldridge, one of the main researchers noted that the projects not only improved the health and well being of clients but also helped to raise self esteem and develop social skills. She went on to add that “this research shows gardening can no longer be treated as a trivial activity – it is comparable to any other physical therapy.

garden work therapeutic in that it helps them cope with disruptive emotional and psychological states.” Following this original pilot scheme, further funding has been raised for three more schemes. These schemes are a walled garden in Perth, a residential/conservation area in Edinburgh and a community garden in Hackney. The author, Dr Hester Parr, suggests that Healthy eating levels may be increased by gardening and that contact with both nature and people facilitate stabilising effects. She also

4.4.1 The Governments Cleaner, Safer, Greener Campaign
The state of the local environment affects and reflects the well being of the people living there. It goes on to say that:
• • •

Green spaces can play an important role in delivering both physical and mental health benefits. Green space and public health practitioners should work together to provide safe and attractive opportunities for healthy activity....such as green gyms. Their simple presence provides a level of enjoyment and benefit.

Allotments and community gardens and farms can provide a range of healthy activities, as well as sustainable, local supplies of fresh food. They are valuable green spaces that can help improve people's quality of life by promoting healthy food, exercise and community interaction. As such, they make important contributions to sustainable development, community well-being, education, health promotion, leisure and recreation. They should therefore, be a key part of the local authority's green-space and community strategies. Some useful supporting evidence has been found in Government White Papers. An NHS paper shows a need for exercise as a cure for many illnesses, especially child obesity (National Statistics suggest that 40% of all 4 year olds are overweight, of which 8% are clinically obese and this is expected to rise to 25% by 2010 if current trends continue). It has been established that almost a quarter (23.6% men and 23.8% women) of the adult population is now clinically obese. Obesity has a major impact on health and a large number of

illnesses are encountered as a result of this. Only one of the drugs used for clinical weight loss (Cetilistat manufactured by Xenical) cost the NHS and thus the taxpayer nearly £147m last year.

4.3.1 Feeding Minds
This report was produced by the Mental Health Foundation and Sustain, and looks at the need for a healthy diet and mental well being. The report indicates that over the last 60 years(first national food survey) there has been a 34% decline in UK vegetable consumption and 59% decline in the fish(Recommended daily intake of oily fish is 140g) that we eat. There is strong evidence to suggest that this country's low consumption of fish contributes to the high levels of depression, post natal depression, seasonal affective disorder and bipolar affective disorder because of the unbalanced intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) Omega 3 and Omega 6. People who report some level of mental health problems eat fewer healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, organic foods and meals made from scratch). The Guardian Newspaper (16 January 2006) reported on this research in it's article “Brain Food” saying that mental ill health costs the UK economy almost £100bn a year. Further quoting “Foods can have an immediate and lasting effect upon a person's mental health and behaviour because of the way they affect the structure and function of the brain” .

4.4.2 Hunger from the inside
“Hunger from the inside” aims to map food poverty explore what impact it has on peoples lives and also demonstrate what it feels like. The report has established that lack of skills in nutrition, cooking or budgeting skills, or pressures or confusion arising from advertising and labelling can lead to poor nutrition. “They have found that state benefits are not based on any calculation of need to ensure a healthy diet is possible once other financial obligations are met.” People on low incomes will either eat and not pay rent or have no gas or electric. Surveys revealed that people would eat more processed foods as a cheap and affordable way to “fill their family up”. People on limited incomes did not feel that they could afford organic produce, and more affluent people felt they were privileged to be able to afford organic produce. This is evidence of inequality as cost of organic produce excludes the poor. Surveys revealed that children were not developing cooking skills either at school or at home. One study found that only 38% of 7 to 15 year olds could make a baked potato. The report says that what we eat can effect the way we feel, and vice versa. Some very young school children recognised that some foods made them happy and some foods made them sad.

4.4.3 QED
QED Allotments and Mental Health Dartford Road Allotments loaned one of their plots to the School of Supported Learning at North Kent College and is tailored to the users rather than fitting the users to the scheme. The plot is used by six people with learning difficulties, and mental health problems. Two teachers, with professional qualifications in special needs worked on the project. It has been assumed that the project has been a success because one student has since enrolled for a professional qualification in Horticulture and one (unsure if this is the same one?) has obtained a plot of his own.

Opportunities for renting Manchester allotments are wide and varied. Allotment plots are filled by word of mouth, from websites, local advertising, society shows, school clubs, medical referrals and the Association of Manchester Allotment Societies (AMAS) publicity drives.

5.1 Word of mouth
Many allotments in Manchester are filled because a potential plot-holder has a friend who has a plot on a site. Plot holders give away their surplus produce to friends and neighbours, who then become keen to replicate the wonderful tastes that they cannot purchase from the local supermarket. Plot-holders share their stories of life on the allotment and the advantages that they get from having a plot with people that they meet, who then become interested themselves.

5.2 Websites
Manchester's allotments are advertised on many websites either directly or by links of interest. Some allotment societies are now even producing their own web sites. Some of the more notable direct sites include:
• • • • •

The Association of Manchester Allotment Societies (AMAS) on Manchester City Council on National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd on Environmental Network for Manchester (EN4M) on Ivy Green Road Allotment Society has produced its own web site:

5.3 Local advertising
Many local allotment societies actively promote their available plots and society by doing leaflet drops, putting up posters in prominent areas such as shops, libraries and schools and holding flower shows and plant sales days. Some societies have their own shop on site, selling tools, seeds and other gardening equipment, they promote their society and the allotments by allowing membership to the local

public, who can then make purchases from the shop.

5.4 Society shows
Around a quarter (9) of Manchester's forty allotment societies hold an annual flower and vegetable show. This encourages their members to take part in competitions and builds up a sense of community within their own society. The general public are welcomed to these events, which range from just a few tables of fruit and vegetables being displayed, to enormous family fun days, with fairground rides and beer tents. New members are sought from the general public at these events. Some of the larger shows are held by Crumpsall and Cheetham Horticultural Society, Brighton Grove Allotment Society, Levenenshulme Allotments Society, Gorton Allotments, Northern Moor Gardening Society and Ivy Green Road Allotment Society. A full list of the shows is compiled each year by the Association of Manchester Allotment Societies and details for these and a list of dates can be obtained from Mr Ron Carter on

5.5 School clubs and Tots Plots
There are several school projects running on allotments and their aim is to educate children about fruit and vegetables and some schools have even developed their own little allotment within the school grounds. Tots plots for the under fives are a major new concept to allotment gardening. These range from a few raised beds where children can learn to grow fruit and vegetables, to larger areas where living willow structures are added within a play area with sand pits and climbing frames as well as the growing areas. A tots plot is being developed on Cypress Street Allotments in Harpurhey by a partnership between Manchester Environmental Resource Centre Initiative (MERCi) and Sure Start. Details can be obtained from Geraldine Wall on School projects are run by a number of organisations trying to raise awareness of food and food production and to encourage their reinstatement back on to the National Curriculum. Manchester Environmental Education Network (MEEN) is working with schools and has an allotment plot on Scotland Hall Road in Newton Heath. MEEN is actively promoting Education for Sustainable Development in Manchester. For more information contact Raichael Lock on Some schools are developing their own “on site allotment”. Cheetham Community School has been a forerunner in this field and has had their own plot for several years now. A living willow maze forms the centrepiece of their orchard, whilst raised beds are used for growing vegetables. Two larger beds were dedicated this year to the growing of cereal corn.

5.6 Medical referrals
Several organisations rent allotment plots specifically for their clients who have mental or physical health problems, these include PACE, Manchester City Council Sports Development Unit, and Sure Start

5.6.1 PACE – (Physical Activity & Community Exercise)

PACE helps local communities meet exercise requirements in their everyday lives. One discipline that they focus on is gardening. PACE have an allotment plot on Scotland Hall Road in Newton Heath for their community groups. For more details contact James McInerney on

5.6.2 ALFA –
Central Manchester's exercise on referral scheme similar to that of PACE. For more details contact 0161 224 4673

5.6.3 SMILE – (South Manchester Improving Lifestyle Through Exercise)

South Manchester's exercise on referral scheme similar to that of PACE. For further details contact Simon Stagge on 0161 217 4130

5.6.4 Manchester City Council Sports Development Unit
Manchester City Council Sports Development Unit employ young offenders to prepare derelict plots on the Southern and Cypress Street sites for their over 50's medical referral groups. Members of the over 50's groups are usually long term unemployed and quite often suffer with chronic health problems. For more details contact Jim Canniffe on

5.6.5 Manchester Learning Disability Partnership
Manchester Learning Disability Partnership offers over 100 regular opportunities for sport and physical activity, for adults who are learning disabled in Manchester. They operate allotment projects on the Frenchbarn Lane site in Blackley and at Debdale Park in Gorton. For more details contact Mike Craven on 01161 223 9901

5.7 Association of Manchester Allotment Societies (AMAS) publicity drives.
The Association of Manchester Allotment Societies promotes allotments on behalf of its members, made up of the forty allotment societies in Manchester. AMAS, along with Manchester City Council produced a leaflet to advertise allotments in the city and this is widely distributed in libraries, schools, hospitals, medical centres and public resource areas. AMAS put on displays at public open events and hand out a large variety of information leaflets. There is usually someone available to answer questions about the availability of allotments in your area and general gardening queries.

5.7.1 Manchester Harvest
To mark National Allotment Week 2005, North West Counties Association of Allotment Gardeners brought together AMAS, Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative, Central Primary Care Trust, Manchester International Arts, Manchester City Council Leisure Department and Environmental Network for Manchester and they all constructed an allotment plot in St Ann's Square in the City centre of Manchester between the 8th to 13th of August. Members tilled the plot throughout the week, answered questions and put on a variety of displays and demonstrations. Around twenty plots have been confirmed as re-let as a direct result of this event, although it is unsure if the sudden uptake of plots since the event was as a result of people visiting.

5.8 Where are the allotments? Of the 39 sites in the City of Manchester, there are 10 sites in the North of the City.

1. Philips Park – Mr W Booth 0161 223 8831 2. Scotland Hall Road – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 3. Broadhurst Park – Mr M Horton 0161 681 7594 4. Crumpsall and Cheetham – Mr D V Allen 0161 205 4679 5. Cypress Street – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322

6. Bluestone Road – Mr J Cartwright 0161 682 2890 7. Hazeldene Road – Mr L Whalley 0161 681 9082 8. Crowden Road – Mr J McIntyre 0161 683 5707 9. Frenchbarn Lane – Mr P Convery 0161 740 1575 10. Edge Lane – Mr M Cooney 0797 636 2725

There are 7 sites in Central Manchester.

1. Brighton Grove – Mrs J Gill 0161 225 5357 0161 226 3322 3. Ossory Street – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 4.Aquarius Estate – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322

5. Ryder Brow – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 0161 231 7056 7. Ackroyd Avenue – Mr D Lilley 0161 370 3937

2. Caythorpe street – Ms Sue Roberts 6. Gorton Horticulture – Mr G Garrard

And 22 sites in the South of the city

1.Woodhouse Park – Mrs P Potts 0161 428 6079 2. Foxfield Road – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 3. Royal Oak and Baguley – Mr R Gettings 0161 945 6046 4. Brooklands – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 5. Sharston – Mrs M Small 0161 613 2623 6. Yew Tree (Northern Moor) – Mr G Bird 0161 973 0306 7. Lamb Pitts – Mr F Heatley 0161 998 0659 8. Bradley Fold – Ms Natalie Marshall 0161 445 4872 9. Parrswood Lane – Mr J Cookson 0161 224 0703 10. Ivy Green – Ms S Cobbe 0161 861 8408 11. Cleveleys Avenue – Jenny Howse 0161 861 0141

12. Hough End – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 13. Southern – Mr M Oldham 0161 248 0293 14. Albermarle – Miss J Philips 0161 445 4353 15. Alexander Road South – Ms C Abbas 0161 881 2167 16. Bethnall Drive – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 17. Fallowfield – Mr P woods 0161 445 9807 18. Wellington Road – Ms A Mayor 0161 434 2955 19. Brailsford Road – Ms S Roberts 0161 226 3322 20. Tonbridge Road – Mr P Roberts 0161 224 5098 21. Levenshulme – Ms V Comos 0161 225 4204 22. Scott Avenue – Mr T Greenaway 0161 881 6430 or lettings Farida 0161 860 6061

5.9 Vacant Plots
In a survey produced by the Association of Manchester Allotment Societies (AMAS – Contact Hon. Secretary Mr R Carter 0161 224 3922) in 2003 it was indicated that of a total of 2074 plots within the city 585 (28.2%) were vacant. Vacant plots were mostly located in the more deprived areas of East and North Manchester and Wythenshawe. The majority of sites with waiting lists were in the more affluent areas of Didsbury and Chorlton.


James McInerney


The Physical and Community Exercise Team is a partnership initiative james.mcinerney@northp between North Manchester Primary Care Trust, Sports Action Zone and New ct.manchester.nwest.nhs. Deal for Communities. The aim of PACE is to promote increased levels of physical activity within the health wards of North and East Manchester. uk The PACE project focuses on offering community-based activities that will help the individual to carry out daily routines such as gardening, housework and walking. Readily available and safe venues such as community centres,church halls, social clubs, parks and allotments also help to ensure there are a wide range of activities. The PACE team offer a variety of community based activities that will help you increase your overall fitness. PACE operate an allotment on the Scotland Hall Road site in Newton Heath.

Cheetham Community Primary School Princes Park Irlam Garden Centre Cypress Street Tots plot MEEN Tom Broad Manager – 0161 775 5889 Geraldine Wall

Gardening project with well established living willow structure as centrepiece for the orchard. Flower and vegetable beds. Two dedicated beds for cereal crops in 2005 Services to people with a disability helping them to gain experience and understanding of workplace discipline.

An allotment plot for the teaching about fruit and vegetables to the under fives is currently being developed on the Cypress Street site in Harpurhey by Sure Start and MERCi and should be fully operational in 2006 0161 273 1736 Raicheal Lock Operate an allotment on Scotland Hall Road in Newton Heath for groups of school children. Pupils are taught about vegetables and the environment.

Booth Centre – Manchester Cathedral Ridgeway Street Community Garden Manchester Leisure – Sports Development Unit

0161 835 2499

Allotment plot on the Crumpsall and Cheetham site boasts a large greenhouse. The aim of the project is to help homeless alcoholics return to mainstream society. Gardening helps them to maintain their sobriety. Operated by the Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative (MERCi) a community garden that has recently been newly landscaped. Has a wildlife area and vegetable plot. The Sports Development Unit is currently operating two schemes on Manchester Allotments, on Cypress Street and Southern sites. Young offenders clear derelict plots in return for training in Sports Development Qualifications and the plots are then tended by the unit's over fifty age group health referrals. Participating schools include:
• • • • • • • •

Val Cooper – 0161 273 1736 Jim Canniffe – 0161 232 3104

HDRA – the organic organisation's schools club,Duchy Originals Garden Organic for Schools teaching organic gardening to school children based around a number of core curriculum area's.

(020) 7630 8238

All Souls' RC Primary Cannon Burrows C.E.P Clarendon Cottage Dukesgate Primary Moss Park Infants Oswald Road Primary St Edward's C E Primary Summerville County Primary

Manchester Learning Disability Partnership

Gemma 0161 205 1364

Allotment therapy for people with learning disabilities held at Frenchbarn Lane allotments in Blackley every Monday and Wednesday 12.30 – 3.30pm March to October. Grow flowers, herbs and vegetables. Also contains a sensory garden.

Manchester Learning Disability Partnership Manchester Learning Disability Partnership

Emma Clegge 0161 223 9901 Emma Clegge 0161 223 9901 or Crossacres Staff 0161 499 3375

Allotment therapy for people with learning disabilities held at Debdale Park allotments in Gorton every Thursday 10.00 – 2.00pm . Grow flowers, herbs and vegetables. Learn basic woodworking skills. Wednesday, day of gardening, labour and horticulture in Wythenshawe Park. 9.00 to 4.00pm

Manchester Learning Disability Partnership

Sheila 0161 223 9901 or Crossacres Staff 0161 499 3375

Friday, day of gardening, labour and horticulture in Wythenshawe Park. 9.00 to 4.00pm

Abraham Moss HS

Mr Kineston

Gardening projects based around planting of the school grounds. Large Greenhouse on site for pupils to raise bedding plants and support tender plants. Attached to the mental health unit at the hospital is a horticultural project where plants are grown for the hospital grounds and sale to patients and the general public. There are four large polytunnels for raising the plants. Clients are to embark on NVQ training in Horticulture commencing March 2006. Clients Participate in growing plants and vegetables, driving duties, woodwork and sales.

North Manchester General Hospital

Debbie 0161 195 5467 ext 3446

Hulme Community Garden Centre

Info@hulmegardencentre A charity running horticultural training for members of the Hulme and Moss . Side areas. The ethos is to address deprivation and ill health. Main target groups are Communities facing multiple deprivation, elders, children, minority ethnic groups and those with mental health needs.

Hattersley Community garden

0161 342 6767

The gardens are used partly for growing vegetables and attractions include chickens and rabbits. There is also a recycling area. These gardens boast a picnic area and wildlife garden. Wheelchair friendly. A working allotment where people can learn about the benefits of growing their own food. Hosts school visits,picnic area and cafe. Allotments with orchard and living willow hedge, shed, greenhouse,picnic area and wildlife garden. Operate an allotment plot for education purposes. This facility is available to all

Safe Haven Community Garden 07787 377 999 Walnut Avenue Allotment Association Horticultural Training Centre Horwich Community Allotment Scott Avenue Allotments Chorlton 0161 797 1221

Linda Haslehurst 01204 697 223 Farida 0161 860 6016

Heybury Close Children's Centre – Miles Platting Heybury Close is a children's centre where parents can learn practical skills. Cookery classes are one of of the skills training on offer. The course is run by MERCi and funded by Surestart - Contact – Geraldine Wall on 0161 273 1736 Foundations National Children's Programme – Collyhurst A programme funded by Zest and operated by Grub running cookery classes for families in Collyhurst - Contact – Geraldine Wall on 0161 273 1736 Zion Community Resource Centre – Hulme Food and mood programme. Harp Cafe is a community based cafe within the Zion Community Resource Centre providing NVQ training for people with mental health problems. Trainees either go back to work at the cafe or find employment elsewhere. Sure Start – Fulmeade Centre Cheetham Cook, taste, and cookery classes for mother and toddler groups. Mothers ages range from 17 to 25 – for further details contact Naomi Davis on 0161 277 8816 Olivier Lodge Olivier Lodge is an assisted housing accommodation for young mums and there children. Mums are aged between 18 and 25. Cookery classes are run once a week in the evening. This project is run by MERCi and funded by Sure Start - Contact – Geraldine Wall on 0161 273 1736

MANCAT – 0800 068 8585 MANCAT Course Enquiries, FREEPOST MR9919, Manchester, M11 9AL Food Preparation and Cooking NVQ Level 1 2. Food preparation and cookery 3. Hygiene 4. Health & safety 5. Preparation of selected range of foods 6. Cookery using a range of methods and techniques Duration: This course is delivered in the day and will last for up to one year. Location: Openshaw Campus & Moston Campus Food Preparation and Cooking NVQ Level 2 1. Food preparation 2. Cookery skills using a wide range of foods 3. Hygiene 4. Health & safety 5. Work in a realistic work environment (the college’s Bistro East Training Restaurant) Duration: 2 years full or part time Location: Openshaw Campus City College – 0800 013 0123 Admissions Team, City College Manchester, PO Box 40, Manchester, M23 0GN Food Preparation and Cooking, NVQ Level 1 and 2 C&G 3. Designed to give skills required to work in the kitchens of such places as hotels, restaurants and industrial establishments within the

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hospitality and catering industry Food hygiene and nutrition Communication Health & safety Food storage European and world cuisine Professional practical and theoretical cooking

Duration: 1 day a week for 36 weeks Location: Fielden Campus, West Didsbury Preparing and Serving Food, NVQ Level 1 (Powerhouse) 10.Dealing with customers 11.Maintain safe and secure working environment 12.Develop effective working relationships 13.Maintain hygiene in food storage, preparation and cooking Duration: 1 day a week for 1 year Location: Power House, Moss Side Diet and Nutrition Introduction Level 1 Duration: 10 weeks Location: Forum Futures, Wythenshawe Nutrition and Health, NCFE Certificate Duration: 1 week Location: Fielden Campus, West Didsbury Nutrition Foundation Certificate Duration: 1 hour for 10 weeks Location: Fielden Campus, West Didsbury


9.1 Evidence of need
There is great evidence of need and this is accepted at national level with various government departments acknowledging in their strategies that horticultural therapy is beneficial not only in rebuilding lives but also as a preventative health care. The NHS white paper “Choosing Health” is about empowering people to make healthy choices to improve their own well being. Health is a multi faceted issue and consideration of cultural, environment and socioeconomic factors have to be taken into account. Physical and mental well being is influenced by locality, labour market and peoples own perceptions of their day to day lives. Factors such as environmental health, lack of education, inadequate food and nutrition, unemployment poor housing and poverty can adversely affect ones well being. There has been considerable research into horticultural therapy and this is continuing at Loughborough and Dundee Universities. Whilst it is now proven that horticulture can make a significant impact on a persons mental well being, it is believed that physical benefits also exist (although the latest studies aim to quantify this).

9.2 Pathways to Manchester's Allotments
There are many pathways to Manchester's allotments but there are a high number of vacant plots (28.2% in 2003) almost twice the national average. This is probably offset to some degree by a 50% rent concession that is offered to OAP's, the sick and disabled,unemployed or people in full time education (58% claiming a concession in 2003) who can show evidence of entitlement. The concessionary rents, though are not sufficient enough in their own right to entice new plot holders. Prospective new tenants are put off by overgrown plots, high levels of vandalism on some sites and in the more modern era of woman and children becoming leisure gardeners, lack of toilet facilities (48% or 19 sites still don't have this facility). People still don't know where sites are as they are usually hidden away and poorly sign posted or how to actually go about getting a plot. They often believe there will be a long waiting list so do not apply. Pathways can be further enhanced by site security improvements, toilet facilities on all sites (under “Access for All”, this is a must), vacant plots being kept weed free, a well structured marketing strategy (particularly targeting East and North Manchester and

Wythenshawe where vacancies are higher and incomes lower than anywhere else in the city), more detailed information on the AMAS web site and more societies having their own dedicated web sites. Better advertising of exercise on referral schemes, introduction of GP referral scheme and tots plots will raise the profile and more societies should be encouraged to facilitate school visits, this is very important as the children are the potential plot holders of the future but the visits also raise awareness for the parents too.

9.3 Horticultural Projects in Manchester
Most of the horticultural projects in Manchester are designed to meet the needs of school children or people with mental health problems/learning difficulties. Horticulture can be use as a way of fighting obesity and reducing cholesterol and stress therefore being a preventative health care. Prevention is always preferable to cure as the cost is much lower. People would also welcome horticulture as a leisure activity in it's own right if there was tuition available. People already realise that gardening is a good pastime to escape the drudge of everyday life thus helping to promote a less stressful lifestyle. Composting is a subject on everybody's lips at the moment as it is a valuable resource to the horticulturist and more so in organic gardening. It is also important to compost your garden waste to prevent it going into landfill. Composting is probably the single most beneficial thing that we all can do to protect the environment. Composting is easy, once you have learnt the basics . Most of the problems encountered making compost are basic errors but if you understand the fundamentals of composting it is very easy to rectify any problems. If a programme of composting demonstrations were to be included as part of organic gardening training then the scheme may well be of real interest to people who would wish to eat organic fruit and vegetables but feel that organic produce is beyond their financial means.

9.4 Cookery classes and cook and taste sessions
Practical cookery is no longer taught in schools and many children are not taught how to cook at home, many of the schemes operated for 5 – day no longer exist, hence growing crops on an allotment would be wasted if cook and taste sessions or even cookery classes were not included. The Cook and taste sessions held at the Manchester Harvest event proved to be very popular. Visitors got to try different foods from different cultures and recipe cards were left by the entrance for those that wanted to try to cook the meals themselves. We ran out of recipe cards on several of the days but none were left lying around in the surrounding streets. We took this to mean that people were interested to try the recipes themselves. People will say that they have heard of 5 a day but few admit to actually understanding the message being given. Tests with different fruit and vegetables showed that many people have a poor

knowledge of fresh produce, what it is or how to use it. Cook and taste sessions and/or cookery classes would ensure that the produce being grown on the allotment would be used and would become a part of the growers diet.

9.5 Holistic approach
It has become even more apparent that the need for GP Referral or allotments on prescription is far greater than was first thought. The general census of opinion is that if the scheme is to work, then a holistic approach is necessary. The need for education around horticulture, gardening, diet and eating are essential elements that need to be addressed. There is however a need to monitor clients progress to ensure that their condition is not exacerbated as a result of over exertion or bad working practices. It is not enough to just up the scheme, there needs to be an extensive period of support and guidance to ensure the greatest benefit is being gained from the programme. Ways of avoiding problems for the participants could include, assessments at the outset by dieticians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Once the programme is under way the participants could be monitored both by the occupational therapist and horticultural therapist, if problems occur either as a result of bad working practice or as a result of exacerbation of the original condition, then the therapist could recommend alternative ways of working and this could be further monitored at case conferences. As participants gain experience and improved health then the therapists could recommend a larger piece of garden eventually leading to a full plot, if that is what the participant wishes to do, before finally allowing the participant to rent an allotment plot independently. It could be beneficial to involve the whole family in the participants therapy as this would carry the benefits to the whole family working in unison to improve one members health and act as a preventative therapy for the family as a whole. Funding would be required for a project coordinator, administration, plot rents, gardening equipment and tools and the buying in of the services of dietician's, physiotherapist's, horticultural therapist's and compost doctor. It is proposed to set the scheme up with six plots on allotment sites or community gardens, two each in the three Primary Care Trust area's of the City of Manchester. Each plot would be divided into four smaller plots, allowing access for twenty-four gardeners. Each participant would have an initial assessment by a dietician and physiotherapist and a personal work plan devised, this could then be monitored at regular intervals to ensure that the participant is getting the correct care and not exacerbating their health condition. A horticultural therapist would work with participants on a day to day bases and report to the steering group regularly. Cookery classes and recipe sheets would be a monthly activity to ensure that participants are aware of the uses of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Compost training and literature be given to participants at the outset of their therapy thus ensuring best horticultural practice.

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