Charity transforms land for community

Bean and Gone: Graham Roberts, Brenda Heathcote and Glenis Heath pick runner beans at the Flower in the Field allotment project in Darley Dale.
Bean and Gone: Graham Roberts, Brenda Heathcote and Glenis Heath pick runner beans at the Flower in the Field allotment project in Darley Dale.
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Over a year ago a charity took over a piece of derelict land and has transformed it into a place for people, plants and possibilities.

Back in 2009 the idea for the Flower in the Field project was born.

Vegetable Delights: James Hardy of Matlock picks fresh Little Gem lettuce from the Flower in the Field allotment project in Darley Dale.

Vegetable Delights: James Hardy of Matlock picks fresh Little Gem lettuce from the Flower in the Field allotment project in Darley Dale.

The overgrown land in Church Lane, Darley Dale, was owned by the town council who wanted to give it away to a good cause.

A site plan was drawn up for the Flower in the Field project by a client of Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health and the impressive idea was given the go-ahead by planning chiefs in January.

Seven plots have been created and are used by groups including Golding House in Matlock, the Derbyshire Federation of Mental Health which supports people who suffer from a range of mental illnesses, South Darley Juniors School and Darley Dale Primary.

The centre of the ‘flower’ houses seating while the ‘petals’ have been left empty for the community to use.

Groups have been busy growing their own food and are hoping to get a greenhouse on site soon.

Project leader Steve Walker, said “I think for people with mental health problems it gives them a purpose. It gets them up in the morning and helps reduce social isolation.

“I believe it can also help reduce stigma between different groups as different people are working side by side.”

He added: “We have also improved an area of land that was derelict and have created a space for growing vegetables which can be very therapeutic.”

Client Craig said: “When I go to the Flower in the Field project it takes away my problems and the other people there give me support.

“I now have friends that I did not know I had.

“Being a member of the field gives me the support I need and I like a good laugh while I’m there.”

The long term aim of the project is for educational and conservation purposes.

The site could host art activities in the future.

There will be a wildlife area, bird feeding stations and insect homes as well as a wooded area, composting bins and a sensory garden.