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C2C Social Action

C2C Grows


(Posted Nov 2020)

C2C Social Action is a Northamptonshire based Christian Charity that offers a range of support to individuals at any stage of the Criminal Justice System by inspiring and motivating them to take personal responsibility for their behaviour, in order to reduce re-offending.

In September 2020, C2C Social Action acquired a fantastic allotment plot and set up a project called C2C Grows. The project is run by a newly recruited Outdoor Learning Support Worker and offers horticultural activities to male and female service users.

Aims and vision

C2C Grows aims to use gardening to help service users by increasing social interaction and reducing social isolation; instilling a sense of purpose and increasing self-esteem; improving mood and mental wellbeing and improving service users’ self-care.

The allotment is a wonderful place in which the C2C Grows project can work with service users and volunteers to grow food in a peaceful setting connected to nature. Participants are able to take home fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as herbs and cut flowers that they have carefully grown. The wider aim is to offer organically grown produce to the foodbank service at the Women’s Centre in Northampton and for produce to be used at the centre for group cooking sessions.

There are also plans to organise produce to be donated to other local foodbanks across town, as well as sell surplus plants and produce at a market stall.

In addition, C2C Grows is developing an accredited horticultural course in partnership with Adult Learning at Northamptonshire County Council, to offer service users the opportunity to learn horticultural techniques and skills on the allotment. The intention is to offer this as a weekly course in Spring/Summer 2021.

Plans are also underway to work in partnership with C2C’s Artists in Residence project, which will offer outdoor art therapy sessions to service users on the allotment, linking art, nature and wellbeing.

About the allotment

The C2C Grows allotment is spacious, peaceful and well-established in terms of existing planting and structures. It is a triple-sized, corner plot, nestled on the edge of a small park in the town and offers service users sanctuary and opportunity to connect with nature and improve physical and mental wellbeing.

The plot has generously inherited two polytunnels and a greenhouse from the previous plot holder. In addition, the site benefits from a small orchard area consisting of a range of mature apple and plum trees, as well as a large, netted fruit cage housing numerous redcurrants, blackcurrants and gooseberries.

The allotment contains a beautiful lawn area with patio and garden seating, surrounded by cherry trees, buddleia and lots of pollinator friendly planting. This tranquil space offers service users a safe space to relax and have meetings with support workers and other agencies.

Who visits the allotment?

The project currently has between 3-5 service users visit the site each week and it is expected for that number to steadily increase as the project becomes more established. Female service users are able to attend the allotment up to three times a week and male service users twice a week. Thankfully, the allotment sessions can continue during the current lockdown conditions this Winter. This is very positive, especially knowing that being outdoors, getting exercise and engaging in a satisfying activity like gardening, is so beneficial to service users.

The allotment project is also linking up with a new Wellbeing Walking project run by C2C Social Action, which offers service users the opportunity to gain outdoor exercise by going on different local walks, including visiting the allotment as part of a planned walk.


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Before ...

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Oct 2020 ...

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Nov 2020 ...

C2C_Grows_-_allotment_Nov_2020

Initial feedback

One female service user recently commented that:

‘Since coming to the allotment each week, I have noticed my mood improve and I now have something to look forward to.’

Another service user has been taking cut lavender back home each week to help aid sleep, as well as herbs to experiment with cooking.



For more information about C2C Grows:

www.c2csocialaction.com