It’s a kind of Magick: Heacham duo’s children allotment dream becomes reality
Local mother and daughter duo Claire and Rosie Sanders are almost ready to launch their voluntary children’s community allotment in Heacham, The Magick Patch, but they need your help.
Former hairdresser Claire discovered the therapeutic power of allotments when she was signposted to the mental health charity Mind after suffering from depression and anxiety and helped tend to their community allotment in King’s Lynn. “From there, I decided to turn my front garden into a veggie patch, and I had all the local kids in the neighbourhood knocking on my door asking if they can come and help me,” Claire says.
It was this overwhelmingly positive reaction that made her want to create a proper group for local children where they can experience the mental and physical benefits of growing produce in a safe and controlled environment; thus, The Magick Patch was born. Claire chose this name as the term Magick denotes working with the natural elements and powers to produce change.
Claire’s daughter Rosie is a qualified teaching assistant who has worked in a special needs school and is currently undertaking her British Sign Language course. It is her experience with working with children with mental health issues and seeing for herself the lack of provisions for them that inspired her and her mum to undertake the project.
The age range will be 2 to 20 and there are going to be two groups making scheduled and chaperoned trips to the allotment each week (days are to be confirmed) and those interested in joining or if they would like their child to attend can message Claire on ‘The Magick Patch’ Facebook group. They are hoping to be up and running later this spring. Parents will also be able to attend with their children.
They will be all-inclusive and will welcome older people if they have a lower mental age. There are also provisions in place for non-verbal people to communicate and the allotment will be paved so it is accessible for those in wheelchairs. There will also be two trained therapy dogs, chihuahuas Stanley and Bayla, and there will be a designated quiet space on a swing.
Claire says: “Ideally, even if I can just help one child that would be amazing. There are so many children that suffer with anxiety, depression and with special needs and I think if we can help as many children as we can just to be able to realise that their feelings that they’re feeling will eventually pass and they will get through it.
“When you’re experiencing it, you feel like it’s the end of the world and there’s nothing past that. So, it’s just a case of showing people it will go away. Also, there is so much pressure at school and if you’re not academic, but we want to show them that there’s skills you can learn with your hands. It’s about raising their self-esteem.”
It was a grant from Broadland Housing that enabled the allotment to get off the ground and they have received help from friends and clubs such as Hunstanton Men’s Shed who erected the shed, laid the slabbing and made some of the raised beds. Ridgeons also provided wooden stakes, felt for the shed roof and buckets, all free of charge. Jim from Just the Job Property Maintenance has also proved a godsend as he made the rest of the raised beds and erected the fence. They are registered with the Garden Organic charity which is all about growing plants organically and who offer extra support, advice and help with the allotment.
However, despite all of their progress there are still a few things needed to fully launch the project off of the ground. This includes funding for insurance and DBS checks, more concrete slabs (second-hand ones are fine), peat-free compost (it must be peat-free for environmental reasons) and prizes for competitions. They are also hoping to find a sponsor that can offer a couple of bottles of squash and water and some snacks for the children.
If you can help Claire and Rosie with any of these things, please make contact with them via their Facebook page ‘The Magick Patch’.