Oldham East & Saddleworth MP Backs Community Garden Project in Derker

MP Backs Community Garden Project in Derker

As part of my Dementia Action Week activities, I visited an initiative in Derker to build a community garden for local people.

Derker Community Gardens is an idea dreamed up by local resident Leanne Brooks.

Following feelings of anxiety brought on by the pandemic, and lockdown, Leanne decided she needed to become more active and that she’d like to find an allotment to tend. Discovering there are no allotments in Derker she was motivated to create something herself and took her idea of a community garden to local councillor, Angela Cosgrove.

Leanne, who is chair of Derker Community Gardens, said: “Like many other people coming out of lockdown I found I was feeling anxious and withdrawn so, once I discovered there are no allotments in Derker, decided that I had to do something about it and create a space for local people where we could meet, get some exercise, and create something positive we can all share in. Our aim is to create a community garden for local people with an indoor and outdoor space, where everyone can just come along and socialise, and learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables, something which is going to be even more important as food prices are rising.”

“We want the gardens to be a place where people who are feeling lonely, or may have mental health issues, can just drop in and feel part of their local community. And, hearing from Debbie about her work on creating a dementia friendly Oldham, we also want to help people who develop a brain disease that results in dementia too, and welcome them into the garden community.

“Another thing we’re very keen to do is donate a percentage of our harvest to the local foodbank and we’ll be offering boxes of fruit to local families in need of support.”

As co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, I think this is a fantastic initiative and it was great to hear that Leanne is keen to help my Dementia Friendly Oldham campaign by involving and opening the garden to people living with dementia. Gardening is such a unifying pastime and can help bring together people from all backgrounds and ages in such a positive way.

Leanne wants as many people as possible to get involved with the project so, if you’re looking for something to get involved with in Derker, please do contact her.

The garden project is being sponsored by Oldham Council and Action Together.

A massive thanks to Councillors Angela Cosgrove and Leanne Munroe and Action Together for help with allocating the land and accessing funding for Leanne to start developing the gardens.

Anyone interested in joining the project can contact Leanne by calling 07506 831022 – emailing the project at derkercommunitygardens@gmail.com – or go to the garden’s Facebook page by searching Derker Community Garden.

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