Taunton Association for the Homeless: Growing Roots

Last year, Taunton Association for the Homeless was given the use of arable land with an existing polytunnel at Langford Lane, Norton Fitzwarren, so their homeless clients could have an opportunity to grow and cultivate vegetables.

Produce will, eventually, be used in the kitchens of Taunton Association for the Homeless and sold in local community markets in Taunton.

Taunton Association for the Homeless' clients are, by nature of their homelessness, some of the most vulnerable in the community. But we know that, given the right help, even the most vulnerable in our society can recover from the issues that have resulted in their homelessness. This project aimed to give them the confidence and self-worth needed to get back on their feet.

The charity applied to Somerset Community Foundation for £500 to hire a rotivator and purchase gardening tools, seeds and personal protective equipment. The grant was also to provide lunch for clients and cover volunteer travel costs for some of the project period.

23 people participated in the project, with ages ranging from 18 to 62. As well as clients benefitting though hands-on skills, confidence and vocational qualifications, the organisation found that clients picked up other skills through managing the project such as leadership, literacy and team work.

“The clients have gained many valuable skills, many of which they never thought they’d achieve…we have also noticed a huge change in their mental wellbeing and confidence.” Rosie Hather, Fundraising and Communications Officer, said. “The clients are now able to manage the project themselves and have more gardening projects planned on more empty land”.

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