Community Roots Charity Project | Ideal Foundation
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WHAT IS IT?

Community Roots is a therapeutic horticultural scheme designed to concentrate and focus on those who are marginalised by society. By working alongside Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) the Ideal Foundation hopes to build on the success of the past projects and move it forward so participants can learn new skills, and gain confidence. Just getting outside can reduce stress levels and helps to reduce the feeling of isolation by nurturing friendships and communication skills.

We have a huge belief in the power of using local and fresh produce. It's better for the environment, more desirable taste and helps the local economy. Learn more about how the project helps local people by watching the video. 

 

 

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“GROWING FOR CHANGE.” 

 

WINTER 2016 UPDATE

NOVEMBER 2016

On a fresh cold day back in November, Community Roots celebrated Bonfire night, well Bonfire day for us at the allotment. It was a lovely day, filled with fresh home-made soup, organic sausage sandwiches, smoke from the fire and of course lots of laughter. We had our own little bonfire party, it was a good excuse to have a fire, burn some debris we had collected throughout the year, Liz the fire starter managed to get the fire started on a cold day, we were warmed by the leek and potato soup, some of the ingredients were left over from the harvest.

DECEMBER 2016

Christmas has arrived at the Allotment, MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM COMMUNITY ROOTS! Community Roots celebrated Christmas by decorating our little living Christmas tree, drinking hot drinks and filling our faces with mince pies. Christmas on the allotment brings mixed feelings from the volunteering team, some looking forward to the festivities with family and friends. Some feeling lonely and at a time where the majority of us will be warm, full of over indulging with food and drink we have to remember the vulnerable and ones battling additions and homelessness. Liz and the volunteering team got creative and made some home-made Christmas reefs, a very professional look!

JANUARY 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR, HERE’S TO A GREAT 2017 FROM COMMUNITY ROOTS!

After the allotment being closed over Christmas and New Year, we are back. Our first session back was on a crisp, sunny morning with a frost! Luckily we had covered the majority of the ground to keep it warm over the winter, just like us we need to keep the ground warm. The allotment is a beautiful quiet space, we are so lucky to have this space so close to the city centre, our escape from the world! It feels good to be back, catching up with the team. January is always a quiet time on the allotment, it’s a limbo time for the allotment, and not much grows due to the lack of sunlight and heat. Bring on spring and the panning for the year ahead. We have been busy; weeding, clearing all the dead rotten leaves, sweeping, sorting out the compost and distributing it around the allotment to help fertilise the soil ready for spring, feeding the birds, our little friendly Robin!

FEBRUARY 2017

So it’s Valentine’s Day on the allotment, the day of love so we at Community Roots to mark the occasion for the volunteers we had a chilli, homemade by Liz. We used some ingredients from last year’s harvest, dried out Borleotti Beans, Chilli and garlic. It tasted delicious and certainly warmed us up on a cold, bleak winter’s day….feeling hot, hot, and hot! Everyone enjoyed the day, including our friendly Robin volunteer. We also had a bonfire to burn all the debris, leaves, weeds and prunings from the fruit bushes and apple tree.

Spring is here, not officially but we can feel it in the air! After spending the last 3 years part-time outside it’s amazing how much you notice the different seasons.

February is all about planning, planting and maintenance. We have started planting some seeds, fingers crossed for germination; Parsley, Coriander, Tomatoes, Aubergines. We have started to prepare the land, digging over the compact soil ready for planting.

Sarah our newest volunteer brings so many skills, knowledge and experience, not to mention a smile. Sarah has many ideas for the project this year, so she started off by making some natural bird feeders out of the pruned apple trees sticks and filling them with peanut butter and seeds….yummy!

Ali continued on the 2nd compost bin, emptying it out with Liz and spreading it around the allotment to nourish the soil.

ABOVE: Andy & Louise enjoy the leek & potato soup

ABOVE: Andy, Liz, Tony, Marlon & Caroline decorating the Christmas tree

 

ABOVE: Marlon with his beautiful reef

ABOVE: Robin the volunteer!

 

 

END OF YEAR REVIEW. 

"100% of long-term clients feel that it creates a positive life impact" it truly has been a fantastic year for the project with it becoming Southampton Voluntary Services second most successful project.

Read their year in review here. 

September/ October

Autumn has brought new colours, new people, and new crops to the Community Roots allotment. As the season changes, conversation turns to recovery. Steve speaks about starting to feel like himself again, it sounds like a tough journey in the rehab. Steve and Fleur, have been working with Horses, the animals have taught them to be patient, and here on the allotment they feel the benefit of being in a group, being around people.

Together we string jingly jangly nuts, bolts, screws onto garden wire, we hang these from trees to reflect light and make sound. We think about how many times we’ve lost our keys, the simple task feels meditative.

Liz brings us carrots, radishes, aubergines, a pumpkin and parsley, these are the new colours of autumn. She tells us that with the first frost the Nasturtiums will go.

We look at the autumn leaves and think about the unique beauty of each one, Steve paints a deep purple and green Maple leaf with inks and we watch colours spread and blur across the paper.

It was the 4th and last session for now… the rain had cleared and the sun met us at the coffee/ smoking/ art shelter.

We observed the current happenings on the allotment: chillies turning from green to red, parsley for picking, poly tunnels to water, compost to turn and berry bushes to mulch. Looking through a circular viewfinder, a spied wishing well on a neighbouring plot was drawn using autumn colours inspired by the hawthorn leaves falling beside him.

Community Roots was very excited to be invited back to The White Star for round 2 of the skills cookery workshop and the development of the Chutney and relish.

August

The start of august we had a wonderful opportunity to work with John Hansard Gallery, over a series of sessions to explore creativity, have conversation, and share skills. Artists Lizzie Jones and Jo Willoughby consider how art can help us look at things in new and interesting ways.

The sun was shining brightly at Community Roots. Whilst we settled in with a cup of coffee before work on the allotment began, we thought we’d test out drawing with watercolour pencils, dripping and splashing coffee and tea over the page and drawing some of the plants and shapes we could see. We agreed that sitting in this outdoor shelter and chatting to one another is an important and brilliant part of being at the allotment together.

The day was alive with colour as all sorts of veg emerged from the ground and off of the plants (the yellow tomatoes tasted amazing and we enjoyed Ali’s onion arrangement in the wheelbarrow.) Bob felt inspired to draw the bright yellow courgette flower and its heart shaped leaves.

We interviewed one another and thought about why we come to Community Roots every week and what words of wisdom we have about gardening. Community Roots makes us feel relaxed and productive, it’s therapeutic and we like to look after things and watch them grow to be there for the harvest at the end. It’s nice to experience the whole cycle (but before you put anything in the ground -preparation is important! You must be an attentive gardener!) Also, we appreciate the camaraderie when being here, to catch up with those we’ve gotten to know well but to also meet different people each week.

We wrote some of our reflections on strips of shiny fabric and tied them to bamboo. We thought it’d be useful for them to flap about in the wind and scare off the pigeons, Marlon then helped to position them on the plot.

Next we collected the biggest leaves on the plot and Dave used his painting and decorating skills to precision paint each giant leaf ready for printing on to fabric. We chose Rainbow Chard, Sweetcorn and Courgette leaves and Caroline helped to roller the print flat, leaving us with a colourful and beautiful big flag

Tony, a new mentor volunteer, draws the branches of a tree in one of the sketchbooks then helps us to nail a plaque made from a coke can onto the shelter. We think about what we’d put onto other plaques, Marlon writes a few beautiful sentences that seem to reflect the day:

“I am here but my thoughts are far away. Enjoying the warm day even though it feels cold. Just a few thoughts for the day.”

Marlon chose to fix his ‘just a thought for the day’ plaque on the bench, prompting further thinking and musings encouraged by just being in the open air and nature.

Looking through a circular viewfinder, a spied wishing well on a neighbouring plot was drawn using autumn colours inspired by the hawthorn leaves falling beside him. Marlon chose to fix his ‘just a thought for the day’ plaque on the bench, prompting further thinking and musings encouraged by just being in the open air and nature.

Ali’s view emerged from a gate, an opening, leading towards a place that looked like harmony and sufficiency, a view, or a wish stretching from the plot and beyond.

Community Roots is delighted to engage with Sembal House, a day centre offering support, activities for individuals who may have Physical and learning disabilities, we gained 5 new volunteers.

Baljinger, our volunteer from Sembal house loves our friendly Robin, the allotment friend.

Community Roots and Ideal Collection was entered for The Guardian Charity Awards, fingers crossed our partnership and good work in the community gets recognised.

A Skills Workshop was held for volunteers at The White Star who volunteer at the Community Roots allotment, as part of the Ideal Collection’s Foundation activity. The intention is to continue to create a strong link with the programme and help the volunteers to create a Community Roots branded Chutney/relish that they can produce and sell.

We arrived at 3pm at The White Star and met the professional kitchen team, including the head chef Matt Noonan, he spoke about the current menu available, general health and safety, do’s and don’ts working in the kitchen. We all put on our aprons, washed our hands and got down preparing the dish. We bought along some produce from the allotment, including, Courgettes, Chard, Tomatoes, cucumber, Lettuce, chilli’s, Cal rube, beans, and herbs.

The volunteers, Ali, Marlon and Gary had a demonstration from the Chef, Matt and the volunteers could follow at the same time, a beautiful fish dish was prepared, cooked and enjoyed by all.

Wow, what a perfect afternoon from start to finish. I would personally like to thank everyone at Ideal Collection/The White Star for making this happen. It has been in the pipeline for some time with a conversation with Oliver and Mathew (the owner) back in December 2015.

The general manager, Marc Wilson’s enthusiasm and professionalism of The White Star and Hotel shone through and the Head Chef, Matt Noonan’s creativity, passion and patience working with the three volunteers, Gary, Ali and Marlon was a wonderful, educational experience.

July

Community Roots had a wonderful day with Ramboll, a company of consulting engineers, designers and management consultants who are committed to creating sustainable and long-term solutions for our customers and society. They were looking for a local charity to support for the day and found us.

We had 18 employees whom raised money by a huge cake sale and buying virtual bricks, this money that was raised £190 paid for the a brand new Poly-tunnel cover. It was a full day which consisted of a welcome and tour of the allotment and project introduction. Started removing any internal equipment from the existing Polytunnel space and external wooden fences around the Polytunnel. We then started digging a 3ft trench around the perimeter of the Polytunnel (10ft wife…15ft length).

It was a huge task but we had a strong, committed team, we then started to fit the Polytunnel cover and trenching it in the ground.

Community Roots now has a lovely new Poly-tunnel cover which will keep us dry and warm in the winter months.

On Saturday 16th July 2016, Community Roots was part of Southampton’s biggest free family festival The Southampton Mela Festival will fill Hoglands Park with music, dance and family activities from around the world.

(Art Asia) and 20,000 friends for a day of FREE family fun. It was a fantastic day filled with enjoyment and an assortment of music and dance styles from South Asia and around the world, including Indian Classical, Bollywood, Folk, World Music, Asian Fusion, Flamenco and Bhangra, plus great activities for the family, international food and market stalls and a friendly atmosphere.

Community Roots was proud to be part of the day, raising donations through the plant sale: we had on offer beautiful Asian inspired herbs and plants; Parsley, Coriander, Purple flowering basil, Aubergine plants, Chilli plants and more. It was a beautiful sunny day in Southampton and lovely to showcase our work to the community.

PRESS RELEASE: FROM ROOTS TO RESTAURANT

A team from the Community Roots charity project in Southampton cooked up some tasty dishes this week using their allotment produce, with the Head Chef of the White Star Tavern, as part of a skills workshop hosted by the Ideal Foundation.

The Community Roots initiative is a therapeutic horticultural scheme designed to support those who are marginalised by society. Managed by Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) and The Ideal Foundation, this volunteer led project uses veg growing on allotments to teach horticultural skills, reduce stress and feelings of isolation, nurture friendships and build communication skills.

On Tuesday 2nd August, participants from the project attended the skills workshop, hosted by The White Star Tavern Head Chef, Matt Noonan. The talented chef showed the team how to create a selection of tasty treats using the allotment produce, including Sea Bass with tomato stew and a Roast Kohlrabi & Swiss Chard dish. He introduced the team to a working professional kitchen and gave valuable advice and tips on how to progress in the hospitality industry. Oliver Weeks, Managing Director said: “We are delighted to be able to use The White Star Tavern’s kitchen facilities and Matt Noonan’s considerable talents to support the Community Roots project. The volunteers do a fantastic job and, as passionate believers in the benefits of fresh produce and sourcing locally, we’re delighted to be able to support them and offer our help to the participants, giving them a taste of the hospitality industry.”

Ideal Collection owns six restaurants across Hampshire, including The White Star Tavern in Southampton. As the number of restaurants has grown, now employing over 160 local people, Matthew Boyle, owner of Ideal Collection wanted to give back to the local community. So, in 2013, The Ideal Foundation was born and since then has raised nearly £42,000 for local community initiatives. Community Roots was the foundations’ first project and the relationship continues to grow with new opportunities like the skills workshop taking place.

Oliver continues: “Next steps for the participants is to complete their level two certificate in food hygiene. Then, in late September which is harvest time at the allotment, we’re inviting them back to The White Star Tavern to create a Community Roots Relish. The chutneys will be available in all our Ideal Collection venues and 100% of donations will be given back to the project.” The White Star Tavern is located on Oxford Street in Southampton and offers true Hampshire dining. Its ethos is ‘keeping it local’, sourcing local produce, employing local people, offering apprenticeships and using local, independent contractors and suppliers. Awarded two rosettes by the AA, the restaurant prides itself on offering excellent quality food, supporting its staff and giving back to the community.

May 2016 Update

May has been a lovely, sunny month which really helped our seedlings to germinate and grow. The Community Roots team are so excited to have planted out the majority of the allotment, it’s so rewarding on so many levels to watch something grow, evolve and develop with a little sprinkle of love and nurture by the volunteers.

Southampton Voluntary Services have worked with Solent Creatives to produce a short promotional video around volunteering.

The Community Roots team jumped at the chance for this opportunity. It was a fantastic day to welcome the film crew on site and to be included in the process. Watch this space for the release!

Community Roots continues it links with the many diverse opportunities in the City and we have now started an exciting joint venture with The John Hansard Gallery. The project “Exchange” will connect with Community Roots over a period of 4-6 sessions. Artists Lizzie and Jo will work alongside the group onsite at the allotment to be creative, have conversations, share skills and experiment with arts activities.

Above: Gem Lettuce growing well.

Above: Our Onion patch, growing well for our next venture “Community Roots Relish “working with The White Star kitchen team, head Chef Matt Noonan to create a tasty treat in the future.

April 2016 Update

So April was upon us and so was the start of the planning, cultivation and planting as spring is officially here, minus dodging the rain!

Community Roots continues to go from strength to strength with external agencies linking into the project and engagement from existing and new volunteers.

We are fortunate enough to welcome Sembal house, a local day centre that provides support for individuals experiencing learning and physical needs.

Community Roots worked hard in the rain on the roof terrace at The White Star Tavern to redesign and rejuvenate the herb garden.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the project and in-turn the professional kitchen team, Head Chef Matt Noonan and the diners at the The White Star Tavern restaurant in Southampton to enjoy. Fresh herbs all year!

The herbs we have planted are Rosemary, Chives, Flat and curly Parsley, Thyme, Baby Gem Lettuce, Dill, Oregano, Fenugreek, Edible Calendula flowers……later we will plant some Chervil, Basil and Chilli plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Herb Garden before.

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Herb Garden After.

Community Roots had a wonderful day, celebrating St George’s Day with an open day onsite at Sandhurst Road Allotments. It was an opportunity for the public to attend and visit the project, a supported volunteer programme.

Showcasing a working inner city allotment in the springtime. We had many visitors and kind donations for our plants and bird boxes, all made and produced on site by the volunteers.

Above: Group photo at the open day

 

Above: Varied stall raising money for the project

 

March 2016 Update

March has started to be a really busy time for the Community Roots project and in turn making the volunteers extra busy too. The team held an Arts and Craft day at SVS so all the volunteers could get creative, with glass painting, woodwork, and gearing up for the stall at the Vintage Arts and Craft Day.

Community Roots has successfully recruited a new administration assistant, who is studying a business degree at Solent University. I'll be helping write this blog - so hi! 

 

We're looking forward to our St Georges Day/Open Day Event on the 21st April at Sandhurst Road Allotments. This is to help showcase the allotment and far it has come in a couple of years. It will be open to the public - hopefully the sun will be out like last year!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ABOVE: The amazing Liz has worked her magic, clearing away the rubbish, weeding, pruning, planting out the new dafodills for spring and watering. And the team at working painting bird boxes and getting seedlings ready to be planted!

 

On a very sensitive and sad issue, a long standing committed, valued member of the project that always brought a smile sadly passed away. Derek will be greatly missed by all.

 

 

 

 

February 2016 Update

February has been a month in limbo, waiting for the winter to finish and spring to start…..so we can get some serious gardening done!! We have been busy behind the scenes planning what we would all like to grow and achieve this year on the allotment. We continue with the allotment maintenance: weeding, watering the poly-tunnel, sowing seeds, getting the ground ready for planting and buying 1000 litres of compost! It generally has been a cold, chilly month but with some lovely sunshine.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ABOVE: Shaun preparing the ground, ready for the potatoes! Royston guarding the raised beds, Our I.O.W Garlic is growing nicely. And a large and over-whelming donation from Hillier’s garden centre, over 200 packs of seeds which will keep us going for years!

 

January 2016 Update

Community Roots is back with a bang after the Christmas festivities and we thank Ideal Collection for their ongoing support in 2016.

January can be a very bleak month for most of us, including the allotment but we still offer the sessions and have many volunteers engaging. It really does give the volunteers the safe space sometimes needed from their sometimes chaotic lives not to mention some fresh air and making new friends over a hot drink!

Weather wise is actually been mild so like us the plants are a little confused and some are flowering early!

The dedicated team have been busy with wood work, making some bird boxes for a spring stall we shall be having in March. We continue with the allotment maintenance weeding, pruning the large apple tree, re-establishing pathways, watering the poly-tunnel, resigned the area of fruit shrubs and plot to maximise the growing potential for 2016.

We have purchased some onion sets (red and white which will be planted out soon for hopefully some lovely onions in the summer.

We have been very fortunate to receive an anonymous donation, which will be put to good use and some beautiful bundle of seeds for the S.C.R.A.T.C.H. Charity shop in Southampton, these included; Broccoli, parsnips, cauliflower, beetroot, spring onion, peppers, flowers and many more!

Finally a wonderful success story from Community Roots has been with my administration volunteer, has now been offered a full time role at Southampton Voluntary Services, again this demonstrates that through volunteering you can gain new skills and potential full-time employment.

Autumn/ Winter Update 2016

Over the last 6 months the Community Roots project has gone from strength to strength, not only with our profile and volunteers numbers but with the quality of produce we have grown. Community Roots has now over 20 committed volunteers from various backgrounds, all bringing something personal to the project success. We engage with over 10 agencies within Southampton, all specialising in the remit of homelessness, alcohol related issues, mental health and substance misuse.

We had an amazing year in terms of produce and harvest, successfully growing over 25 different types of vegetable and fruit. Some of the produce was used by the volunteers that work hard on the project, some donated back to the homeless shelters, Ideal collection our wonderful supporters used within their menus, onsite with have made some lovely warming soups which we have all enjoyed, such as Leek and potatoes and vegetable sweet chilli and roasted pepper.

We linked in with the NCS/Youth Options organisation in late summer, a team of 15 young adults aged between16-20 choose the Community Project as there nominated charity. They had a series of fundraising ideas, which included sleeping rough for 1 night to mimic being homeless and bag packed in Asda. In total they raised over £500 which went towards being a much needed new tool shed for the allotment. This was then built and constructed by them, with supervision from Justin, the Community building mentor. We then ended with a there 2 weeks with the project with a small party onsite and visit form their families to see the good work they had all achieved.

We had a visit to the Beaulieu estate, Patricks Patch project to gain ideas, it was a lovely day out and we all finished with cream Teas.

 

Community Roots took part in National Allotment week and opened the project to the public, including all agencies and past and present volunteers. It was a wonderful day, the sun was shining and we raised over £100 of donations through our vegetable and flowers.

In the autumn, after the busy harvest we re-designed part of the allotment, with three raised beds. This not only gives dimension and depth to the allotment but is practical in terms of access for volunteers.

New partnerships developed with The Choice care group, adults with support needs and Jordan House, client’s in-between accommodation.

Community Roots produced some beautiful vegetable boxes which were donated at a charity event with Ideal collection, this raised over £100. We also produced some seasonal flower table decorations for the event.

As the project grows so does the workload so two new opportunities were created in the office for administration volunteers, not only giving work experiences but also new shills which will lead to possible employment. We had a bonfire night, which was a good excuse to burn some rubbish, make some vegetable soup for the last remains of the harvest and burn some rubbish and wood. We all sat around the fire and toasted marshmallows, a good time, but very wet time was had by all. Liz the fire-starter managed to get the bonfire going!

Finally we finished the year in December with an arts and crafts session at the office, it was a creative day of making Christmas decorations, fresh Christmas door reefs, spraying pine cones, and professionally wrapping the paper white narcissus flowers for Christmas. We raised nearly £200 which we will put towards the news seeds for spring 2016.

 

Spring 2015 Update

After a seemingly long winter, summer is well and truly upon us at Community Roots – the allotment’s looking beautiful, with vegetables, herbs and fruit crops popping up across the beds and 2 new poly tunnels erected, one at each end of the plot. The new top poly tunnel is being put to good use in cultivating a wide variety of delicious fruit, herbs and vegetables including peas, onions, pumpkins, courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, purple broccoli, cabbages, broad beans, strawberries and brussel sprouts…just to name a few! Over the coming weeks work will continue on preparing the social area at the bottom of the plot, which once completed will facilitate further cooking demonstrations, barbeques and provide space for wood working and craft sessions. Volunteers are always welcomed to take produce home with them, and it’s also put to good use across Ideal Collection’s kitchens- the production of tasty chutneys by volunteers is also due to begin shortly in their professional kitchens.

On 23rd April a special open day was held for St George’s day where volunteers, members of the local community and staff from the Ideal Collection celebrated the fantastic progress made over recent months by all of the hard working volunteers. Everyone enjoyed catching up over food and drinks, admiring the charming bunting and lovely handwritten labels next to each crop…perfect for those of us who need a little help in identifying what is what! Further events are planned throughout the summer so watch this space. £120 was raised on the day – many thanks to all who donated.

A big thank you also to all those who supported Community Roots in Waitrose’s ‘Community Matters’ scheme, which raised £239 – funds to contribute towards a much needed new shed. 

Looking forward, we’re really excited to announce a new partnership with Southampton City College which will offer volunteers certified, nationally recognised courses – watch this space for further information!

As highlighted by recent activities, Community Roots is much more than just an area to grow produce -it’s an area where people can come and grow themselves. 

November & December 2014 Update:

Winter on the allotment is a relatively quiet time, but perfect opportunity to undertake an autumn tidy up and reflect on the peace and quiet the allotment offers. 

Key Achievements;

- YMCA Engagement Afternoon: Billy (volunteer) and I set up a small stand, advertising the Community Roots project to new potential volunteers. Giving practical information about the project.
- New partnership with Moore-green hospital, which specialises with rehabilitation of patients with brain conditions and disabilities.
- Bonfire event night, it was a perfect chance to burn all the rubbish and debris we had collected. Liz prepared some leek and potato soup (made from the last few leeks and potatoes on the allotment). We all carved out pumpkins, ate the soup and toasted marshmallows around the fire. Amazing night with amazing volunteers. 
- Continued to plant, water, maintain the live growing herb pots, which included: Parsley, Coriander, Thyme, Marjoram and the White narcissus flowers. 
- Liz and I attended an external training day with Dr Iain Bourne, dealing with difficult and dangerous people.
- New potential volunteers started from the YMCA, Booth Centre and Chapter 1.
- Covered as much of the allotment as we could with horticultural fleece to keep the soil from the elements. 
- Cuttings from winter strawberries have been sown and cutting from the Fruit bushes have been planted. 
- The arrival of the worms, about 500 worms for the Wormery. This will create a liquid form of fertiliser (all natural). 
- General allotment maintenance, weeding, clearing, preparing the soil for spring, composting and general tidying. The soil is really the most important element that we have worked on this month, as too much rain and tramping over it will effect it and reduce the nutrients. 
- Southampton Homeless team visited the allotment for an open day/show round for potential new volunteers in spring 2015
- Chapter 1 visited the community roots allotment for an open day, made bacon sandwiches on site for the volunteers and potential new volunteers. 
- Ideal Collection visited the Community Roots allotment, we had 7 staff members from across the restaurants who will be “Community Roots Champions” and be a point of reference for Ideal collection customers and staff about the project.
- Work continued by Leeonand James on the shed.
- Southampton Voluntary Services Christmas Party, to thank all the volunteers for there commitment, hard work, time and effort. It was a brilliant night with fish and chips, raffle and quiz…Community Roots team came second in the quiz! Woohoo - Started to clear out the for the New Year as it will become a small workshop/social area for the volunteers to keep us warm and dry in the winter months. 

As you can see, the allotment is more than just an area to grow produce. Its an area where people can come and grow themselves. 

Autumn Update - Community Roots is flourishing

At the beginning of the month Liz made a lovely Herb reef which comprised of Mint, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Chilli’s and editable flowers. Perfect to use fresh or simply keep in the kitchen and use ‘as and when’ not to mention the fragrant aroma it gives off! A seasonal display was presented to showcase some of the harvest from the allotment for The Daily Echo interview: Flowers, apples, Courgettes, Marrows, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Squashes, Sweetcorn and Kale. General clearing, weeding and allotment maintenance was completed. Hopefully the article will be published soon!

We’ve been busy planting, potting and sowing: Winter strawberry’s, Herbs: Marjoram, Thyme, Parsley, and Basil, Coriander, and sweet pea flowers for colour. And Liz and I went on first Aid Training and passed with flying colours, so we are both officially First Aiders for Community Roots! Mid-month was poor conditions, where rain really stopped play for a number of days! So Liz and I cleared the left hand side of the poly tunnel…out with the old…in with the clean old! Took stock of the hundreds of pots, planting trays and propagators.  Cleared away half of the tomatoes plants, ready for new planting.

Liz also arrived with 2 new compost bins, so we have a family of 3! Which is perfect as we can produce a higher quality and quantity compost and rotate the bins!

A beautiful donation of organic seeds from Waitrose, courtesy from Duchy. These donations are so important to us. Thank you Waitrose! We had two new volunteers, billy, from the YMCA….what a brilliant, eager and hardworking young lad! Cleared a new planting bed which was totally overgrown. David worked on general wedding, tidying up and allotment maintenance. Two great additions to the teams. 
Harvesting is coming to an end now and that really signifies the change in weather from summer to autumn. This is still a busy time for the allotment, getting ready and gearing up for the cold harsh moths when the ground freezes, so we are frantically weeding and covering.

Background - Community Roots