Spring is one of the most satisfying times of the year, if only for the fact it brings with it an explosion of greenery and colour – and this grant we awarded to a Gorton community group celebrates just that!

Ryder Brow Community Allotment Society (RBCAS) is a community group whose roots go back to the winter of 2017, when neighbours in the area noticed that many plots on their local allotment had fallen into disrepair. A neglected allotment is a truly sad sight, given how few of us in modern Manchester get the opportunity to work on our own patch of soil, but these scenes were particularly shocking as the group found out these allotments had been unused for as much as 30 years! The neighbours wanted to clean up their neighbourhood, deter the fly-tipping, and grow their own organic fruit and veg – and so the Society was born.

They don’t limit themselves to anything in the aims of providing opportunities to improve the wellbeing of their community, however their primary focus is the provision of allotment plots and community gardening. They’ve been so successful at achieving these aims in their short lifespan, that they’ve won awards, worked with the Council on many community initiatives, partnered with the Greater Manchester Youth Network and even been referred patients by local health practitioners for the “Being Well by Growing Veg” volunteering guided learning workshops supported by One Manchester and Buzz (Manchester’s NHS Health & Wellbeing Service). They’re also part of Sow The City & National Allotment Society –  they are doing fantastic things at RBCAS!

RBCAS came to us at We Love MCR for a grant of £5,000 to fund their “Thyme to Grow….it makes sense” project, where they plan to grow a sensory plant garden. Building on their great work with local health organisations, this is a project in which they’ve identified the need to support people from various backgrounds and with a range of needs to improve mental wellbeing. They said to us that “Organic gardening involves looking after nature” and that therefore wellbeing will be “enhanced through noticing the seasonal changes and experiencing wildlife visitors”. In the project, participants will have a chance to learn and engage with plants that stimulate all five senses, giving them a chance to share and enjoy what they’ve learnt with others. RBCAS are working with groups to refer people over the age of 50, and also the Caribbean and African Health Network in Manchester to refer members that would help the project to more accurately reflect modern Gorton.

The grant has gone towards sessional costs for 8 weeks, all sorts of materials, promotion, a first-aider, and an anti-vandal cabin for the group. The cabin is a vital part of the award for RBCAS, to provide a safe and sheltered environment so their beneficiaries can access quiet rest-room as a safe space, and to rest if tired, unwell. It is also extremely helpful for meetings and administration of the group.

The group said:

“Many thanks to the We Love MCR Charity for considering and selecting RBCAS as a recipient of the Stronger Communities fund. The award will make life-changing differences to the plot-holders, beneficiaries and members of the community. We will now be able to have a cabin for shelter, make a cuppa and enjoy other amenities which have not existed before. The funding will support the continuation of existing and future gardening projects, by helping participants to reduce isolation, whilst engaging with nature for mental and physical wellbeing.”

The site of the new cabin!

It is a fantastic story, and a brilliant project ran by incredibly community-minded individuals. We’re so proud to be funding them, and can’t wait to bring you more updates from their allotments.

If you know a similar story of a committed group of neighbours in Manchester that could do with funding to benefit their community, explore our Stronger Communities Fund page to learn more!

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