On The Plot – Summer 2023

We’re proud to have offered another 12 sessions of On The Plot this year, for people living with Dementia and their carers.

Man and woman laughing and looking to camera whilst standing outside at a community allotment. Man is holding a potato and a trowel.

DWB’s Jo-Anne van Levesley and a number of our brilliant volunteers ran the sessions, which provide opportunities and support for people with Dementia and their families to get involved at Darnall Allotment Project, in all sorts of different ways. It is a community plot at Infield Lane allotment site,  maintained and run by Darnall Allotment Project members, along with grower, Sarah Emberson.

On The Plot sessions this year included opportunities to work with clay, paint and many other mediums. The intense weather affected three sessions by taking us indoors, and even led to one cancellation – but the newly built shelter at the plot provided some very timely cover from a lot of the rain.

Three sessions were spent creating clay models, thanks to support from Brett,  a potter, and resident  gardener/grower on the site with his own plot, too. Another enjoyable activity was taking the time to create their own drawings and paintings of flowers and hollyhocks on the plot.

Participants also helped out with tasks around the plot, including, planting vegetables, working on the raised beds, doing general weeding, and watering. At one early session, they planted lettuce seeds together in a raised bed, and then made colanders to take their plants home to grow on the window sill. Everyone reported enjoying harvesting and eating the results at later sessions.  “I never realised just how easy it is, how different the lettuce tasted to shop bought – and you can keep going throughout the winter, too…”

At the first and  final session for this summer, we shared stories via the Out Of The Box storytelling, an approach that Jo has been learning, using compost and sand. Using the theme of “Down Memory Lane”, this helped participants to think about topics together, including “How do you feel about your community?” and “What have these sessions meant to you?”.

“It has been one of the best things for me. I feel totally relaxed and de-stressed here – I am  better able to cope, sharing time with others has made me feeI better. I highly recommend coming; it has been one of the best things we have done together”.

Pat, On The Plot participant

From clay roses and ducks, to wooden men climbing beanstalks, the sessions brought all kinds of creativity and art to the plot this summer. We look forward to bringing the sessions back next year!  Thank you to People Keeping Well for their funding and support for these much needed sessions!