Dawn Juson, who along with Simone Chadwick, run Symbiosis Health and Well Being CIC. They applied for a Grant through the Community Asset Fund in September 2023 for the 7 week “Let’s Get Growing” project. They are passionate and dedicated to providing sustainable solutions for growing food to help with Health and Well-Being.

They started their project at the beginning of October 2023 at Darwen Valley Community Centre on Sudellside Street. They very quickly became fully subscribed with lots of their participants coming from the Recovery Community. They have been doing gardening projects in the morning – from planting bulbs to growing windowsill herbs – followed by lunch which gives them a fabulous opportunity to connect with one another. They finish the day off with further workshops which have included self-massage and sound healing.

On today’s visit they installed raised beds/planters outside the Community Centre with help from Peter Chadwick from PC Roofing. The idea is to grow fruit and vegetables using the Charles Dowding method of “no dig gardening” which reduces the need to overly exert yourself in the garden.

All the participants feel the value in what they are doing and trying to achieve.

Chrissy has been gardening most of her life. In fact she was the lead volunteer with the Fast4WD allotment when it first started in the early 2010s. She said that this project has enabled her to make new friends and connections – even learn some new skills despite her expertise in the field.

Dawn said that it gave her the opportunity to try even simple things that she perhaps was too scared to try before – including wielding a lump hammer.

Rachel though summed it up perfectly. It’s another opportunity for those in Recovery outside the traditional group framework to stay true to their goals of becoming or keeping clean.

The project is undoubtedly a success. The dedication of Dawn and Simone has ensured its blossoming. Hopefully they will be able to secure land at the back of the Community Centre so their idea of creating a Community Allotment can at last “break ground”