Cambridge Cyrenians Roots N' Shoots
Cyrenians Roots N' Shoots is a allotment project and tree nursery, growing herbs, vegetables, soft and tree fruit, shrubs, trees and other perennianl plants. The trees are grown from collected seed, seedlings and cuttings in pots. The project is run with the support of Cambridge Past Present and Future at Wandlebury Country Park, who are offering their expertise and a market for some of the native trees. We are also selling on saplings to other organisations, including schools and community groups.
Participants are encouraged to take away the fruit and vegetables they grow for their own consumption. Some is donated to other homeless hostels. But we are now growing a significant amount of veg to order, supplying other local community groups. We also have stalls at Strawberry Fair and the Mill Road Winter Fair where we sell plants. Participants are encouraged to get involved in this too.
The main site covers over 4 standard sized allotments, with a large poly tunnel for starting off seedlings and growing glasshouse fruit and vegetables. One of the sheds is equipped with tea making facilities- tea break being a vital part of our morning! We have a second site at Coton where we are growing willow for weaving.
There are a large variety of jobs that need to be done on site. Some jobs require participants to be reasonably fit, such as digging and weeding. However there are many jobs which require much less physical effort. Potting on, sowing seed etc can all be done sitting at a bench, for those who are less able.
The project aims to continue throughout the year. In very bad weather, we meet indoors nearby where we can pursue related activities, such as woodwork- e.g. making cold frames, winter tool maintenance and other activities chosen by the group.
There are also visits and social events organised throughout the year as part of the project.
Limited transport is available to and from the site, with a regular pick up from Wintercomfort before each session.
Why are we doing it?
The project offers a meaningful activity for homeless people, helping to provide training and developing new skills. Regular involvement can improve people's quality of life, reduce social isolation and improve participant's mental and physical health. Participation in Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 was a major event for the group and the silver medal won a great source of pride.
When is it?
The project currently runs every Tuesday and Thursday morning, meeting from 9.30am for a 10am start to around 12.30-1 pm, but this is flexible and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual and group.
Who can participate?
This project is open to anyone who is homeless or has been homeless. We are particularly keen to encourage those over the age of 50. Individuals can self refer, but we also encourage other organisations to make referrals. Participants need to agree to a no alcohol policy on site, and to be able to use tools safely. We are aiming at a small group size of around 6 to 8 participants at any session.
Supporting the project
Direct and practical help with tools, materials and equipment can be provided through the Good Gifts Catalogue, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust.
Want to know more?
If you would like to know more, or make a referral, please contact Ruth Nicolls, Project Co-ordinator using the details on the contact us page.