A new project in Yeovil is helping to bring people together to make friends, share laughter and chatter, combating not only social isolation but also the issues surrounding rising food costs.
Food prices have risen nearly twice as fast as rent in the last five years and today (23rd April) the British Heart Foundation published findings that two thirds of people in the UK wish they could eat more healthily, but 42% said they can't because it’s too expensive. Nearly three quarters of people who earn less than £10,000 per year said they struggle to afford the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
In Yeovil, two local charities are working together to help communities access fresh produce despite the rising prices.
Active & In Touch, a charity set up to help isolated and vulnerable people within the local community, has partnered with Somerset Community Food, a charity that aims to show communities the social and health benefits that can be gained by growing and preparing your own food, to bring ‘Get Set, Grow’ and ‘Get Set, Cook’ to local people.
The project is currently running at Yarlington Housing Group’s St Johns Road and Great Western Terrace Schemes where Yarlington has donated some land which the group have transformed to plant vegetables and fruit.
Jane Sweetman, Get Set, Grow & Cook Co-ordinator, said ‘It’s all about making fresh food affordable and bringing people together in doing so. Our aim is to give people the skills to grow their own food and then use and share what has been grown to make healthy meals. The sessions are flexible and fun and include theory and practical work, indoors and out.’
Active & In Touch Co-ordinator Julia D’Allen added ‘It’s been lovely seeing the group share gardening ideas and tips. More people are coming along each week which is helping the two schemes and local community members mix and building friendships. Last week someone brought an old bath tub along which is going to be filled with compost to grow vegetables in, so, not only are we giving people that may feel isolated the chance to meet others and learn new skills but also re-using and re-cycling unwanted goods!’
So far the group have planted a range of fruit and vegetables from lettuce to peas, strawberries and raspberries. Yarlington resident, Matthew Britton, has been attending the sessions and concluded ‘It’s great being outside in the fresh air - I’ve made new friends, learnt new gardening tricks and it’s helped me with my M.E. too.’
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