Knowle West Health Association – “Now we can visit all of the garden”

When I visited Knowle West Health Association I came to understand the wide variety of services, activities and projects they run to promote, protect and preserve good health and wellbeing in the community. Among these is the Let’s Grow Community Allotment site in Andover Road, Knowle West. This community space occupies a beautiful 1.3 acre allotment plot with stunning views over Bristol and is managed by a small team with help from volunteers. The Association has been a valued part of the community for over thirty years where their help is appreciated and trusted. (By the way it is a great place to watch the Balloon Fiesta ascents each year when they hold a big party.)

Their services include a community kitchen, a friendship club for the over 40s, a foot care service for the over 65s, a counselling service and a charity challenge course for small teams of up to eight 14-16 year olds in preparation for completion of a sponsored Physical Charitable Challenge. They host visits from schools and dementia groups among others as well. All these groups enjoy their visits to the Let’s Grow site but of course among these groups are people with mobility problems. Until now the sloping site was difficult for wheel chair users. For much of the year the grass would be too slippery anyway and certainly after wet weather impassible for them. Those with mobility problems were confined to the tarmac area, in other words, the car park.

The Let’s Grow community allotment site has a twofold aim of producing high quality local fruit and vegetables for the community kitchen and perhaps more importantly, doing all they can to help local people learn to grow and cook their own food in a welcoming and supportive environment.

They applied to the Avon Gardens Trust for funds to purchase grass protection matting to form a year round firm surface running through the garden to allow wheel chair users to visit and join in with the raised beds, the orchard, meet the hens and join in social activities around the barbecue area. We were happy to help them and on Saturday 2 July there was a great coming-together of volunteers for the preparation and laying down of the matting. The local police are supporters of the Association and a team of four came over for the day to help get the job done.

I visited in August with the matting well established on the main routes and they were planning to extend it further.Visitors, whatever their mobility, can say ‘Now we can visit all of the garden.’

Wendy Pollard