Recovery Academy team love their allotment

Ten members of the Leeds Recovery academy have donned their gardening gear to spruce up an allotment in Hyde Park

As part of the academy’s Grow Together project, the green fingered team hope to eventually fill it with herbs, wild flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Claire Doble, a volunteer at the Recovery Academy, who is leading on the project, said: “This nine week eco-therapy course gets our service users into the fresh air. You can see how much it means to the group and how they are taking ownership of the project.

“When we first took hold of the plot, it was a bit of a wilderness but everyone’s pitched in and we’re really looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour.”

Initial work has been done to improve a path, clearing and tidying the plot, building new raised flower beds and de-weeding the existing ones.

group of people in an allotment

The Grow Together group is part of a wider research project, which aims to look into using gardening, growing and permaculture as a tool to build positive social networks and maintain abstinence from drug and alcohol use.

The session is run by Behla Hutchinson from Hyde Park Source, an environmental charity based on Rosebank Bank Road, Leeds, who said: “It’s important for everyone to get outside and be physically active in a social environment- sharing skills, building friendships and feeling good about it. It doesn’t matter if people have loads of experience or none, everyone is welcome!”

The Recovery Academy is open to anyone in Leeds who is recovering from alcohol and/or drug use. You can become a member by going to the Academy on 43 Westfield Road, Leeds.