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Cambridge allotment project celebrates 15 years of helping homeless gardeners to flourish




For 15 years a small area of Cambridge has been providing homeless people with the opportunity to learn new skills and get green fingers.

The Cambridge Cyrenians Allotment Project, which is tucked away at the Whitehill allotments on Elfleda Road, marked its anniversary on Friday (September 6) with a small celebration.

Among the guests was Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, who met the homeless gardeners and staff who explained how the project works.

MP Daniel Zeichner meeting gardeners and staff from the Cambridge Cyrenians celebrating it's 15th birthday, from left Ruth Wood project coordinator for the allotments project, MP Daniel Zeichner and Shanice Jones project manager Cambridge Cyrenians. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16480690)
MP Daniel Zeichner meeting gardeners and staff from the Cambridge Cyrenians celebrating it's 15th birthday, from left Ruth Wood project coordinator for the allotments project, MP Daniel Zeichner and Shanice Jones project manager Cambridge Cyrenians. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16480690)

The scheme has six plots at the allotments where vegetables, herbs, soft fruit and wildflowers are grown using organic methods. There is also a wildlife area with a pond, a dwarf orchard and the project’s first bee hive.

Kristian Claxton from Cambridge Cyrenians explained: “The allotment project offers meaningful occupation, helps to provide real work experience and helps develop new skills.

“On top of this, it can also be an essential therapeutic and social place to relax. Many attendees see the allotment as a safe place to get away from their worries.”

People who use join the project have said how being outside and seeing the produce at the end of the work creates “happy faces”. They added: “You can’t beat it.”

Over the past 15 years, hundreds of people have benefitted from taking part in the project which provides horticulture training, supported work experience and a safe social environment for some of the most disadvantaged people in the city.

Mr Zeichner said: “Happy birthday, and thank you to the Cambridge Cyrenians Allotment Project
for letting me share in your celebrations. From little acorns grow great oaks, and this great local charity is a real success.”



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