Men in Sheds helps the women of Gilead

The local community group Men in Sheds Okehampton have been instrumental in helping the Gilead Foundation’s horticulture project, which provides women in need with a gardening experience.

The group of retired men volunteered in Gilead once a week and helped the women of Gilead build four compost bays and raise beds in the polytunnel. He is currently creating planters to fill with wildlife-friendly plants.

Men in Sheds member Brandon Francis said: “We’ve been up there for four to six weeks and we have been working in garden construction equipment, helping cheer on the ladies, allowing them all to start doing grow plants. For example, some women have back pain, so we gave them bigger gardening tools so they didn’t have to bend over.

“We feel like we’ve given something back. They [Gilead] want to be self-sufficient and if we can do something about it, we will. They say we could help build a new patio.

Gilead says Men in Sheds will be invaluable in developing the outdoor allotment area that the women’s center plans to create.

Gilead set up the horticulture project 18 months ago with funding from the European Social Fund, Europe’s leading employment support and skills building organization, together with Petroc College, which has campuses in Barnstaple and Tiverton, with the goal of improving the mental and physical well-being of the women he helps. The project turned out to be a success.

Joanna Morgan, Head of Fundraising and Marketing, said: “This has turned out to be a great training ground for the women we serve, many of whom are thrilled to get into growing their own vegetables. in the future.

“We are also working on our vision of becoming self-sufficient and the environment led by growing seasonal vegetables and using ‘no dig’ principles, harvesting rainwater, using plants. accompanying and biological controls rather than pesticides and the use of organic products rather than chemical fertilizers.

Gilead is now looking to expand the horticultural project by building an outdoor community space in the garden as part of the subdivision that can be covered to protect people from the sun and rain.

Ms Morgan said she hoped the area would be used for “personal contemplation and tranquility and for horticultural lessons.” The center also hopes that the space can be used by residents and their family members to spend time together and as a meeting and dining place for residents, visitors and volunteers.

The center hopes to complete the work by next summer depending on funding.

Gilead Foundations is a Devon-based women’s center that provides an assisted living service to women struggling with a range of issues, including drug addiction, anxiety, homelessness and domestic violence. The center offers residents help in developing self-discipline, a good work ethic and creating a healthy lifestyle through individual and group support and work experience. This can include cooking and housework and a variety of agricultural work such as ranching, gardening and general farm maintenance.

To volunteer at the center, call 01837 851240 or email [email protected]

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