Welsh veterans in Cardiff will soon be able to get some Green Headspace at a new community gardening project for ex-servicemen and women, based at an allotment site in Grangetown.
The Welsh Veterans Partnership has been working with Cardiff Council to bring uncultivated allotment land at Leckwith Droves back in to use, as an accessible growing project that will support and enable veterans and their families to integrate with the local allotment community through growing fruit and vegetables.
Thirty-six tonnes of rubble have already been cleared from the site and more than 2000 sandbags filled as part of work to create the accessible raised beds necessary to make the project fully accessible for disabled veterans.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said: “Our ex-servicemen and women deserve all the help and assistance they can get, and this project promises to offer that in spades. Allotments offer an opportunity, not just for locally-grown food, but also for improving the health, wellbeing and skills of our communities, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help make this innovative community project a reality.”
Dave Price from the Welsh Veterans Partnership, said: “The project’s really gathering pace now, and once all the poly-tunnels are in place it’s going to be a really important space for our veterans. Isolation can be a big issue, so getting outdoors, mixing with the allotment community, learning new skills, whether that’s cultivating crops or bee-keeping, it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity.
“The site’s going to be accessible to all our veterans, including those with disabilities, and as well as growing, there’s also going to be a contemplation garden, somewhere just to sit and take a little time out. It’s quite late in the season so we’ll just start out planting some perennials and some fruit trees, but this is a long-term project that’s going to improve outcomes for our veterans and service families for years, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the grant we got from the Military Covenant positive pathways project in Wales, or without the Council’s help and support.”
Two other Council projects at allotments are also being planned. Following a successful £20K bid for funding from the Travis Perkins Legacy Fund, a project to bring uncultivated land at Ely Great Farm and Cowbridge Road allotments sites back into use is also due to begin later this year. The project will see infrastructure improvements made to the sites, whilst also delivering employment opportunities for young people through the UK Government Kickstart Scheme.
A project in partnership with Action for Children is also currently in development. Once up and running, the project will see familieswhere the parents have a learning disability, or additional learning needs, joining the allotment community, and cultivating produce at the Colchester Avenue allotments site.