19 April 2017

‘Don’t Lose the Plot’ is YMCA East Surrey’s horticultural project working with young people who have additional needs aged between 14-20 in the local area.

We have an allotment in Redhill where we grow fruit, vegetables and flowers, teaching young people about the health benefits of growing your own. We also work with Reigate and Banstead council, gardening in local parks and assisting on allotment clearings.

Gardening is known to have many benefits: physical, cognitive, social and psychological. We want to promote these benefits to young people with learning and physical disabilities and encourage them to develop as individuals, whilst also involving themselves in the local community.

Scientific research has found that weeding, digging and sowing seeds can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity, boost self-esteem and produce a general upbeat feeling. Gardening can be both soothing and distracting whilst also working major muscle groups and providing an all-over body workout.

“Above all, getting your hands dirty is great fun!” says Zahra Dhaimish, YMCA East Surrey’s Inclusive Youth Worker. “With this project, we are aiming to provide a social enterprise where young people can offer their skills to the local community and other community groups in East Surrey.”

This year, we have been offered a new second allotment plot in Redhill which we plan to develop into a space that can be used all year round. We plan to install a polytunnel and construct wheelchair accessible raised beds. This new plot will allow us to build on the great work which is already being done by our Youth Services team.

Gardening sessions this year began on 19 April and will take place every Wednesday between 10am and 2pm.

If you are interested in getting involved in our ‘Don’t Lose the Plot’ project, please contact Zahra Dhaimish.

T 01737 222859