Plotting for the Future
Welcome to my new regular column. You won’t always find me on the front page, but I’ll see you inside next month. I’m Carole, I live in Sedgefield, and I’ve recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the brain and spine, as if they are a disease.
Becoming disabled earlier this year has been a huge learning curve, so I’ve taken control of my life in a positive way, by taking something I love and developing it.
In my professional life, I work to support and rehabilitate military veterans and to deliver training on Alzheimers and Dementia. I plan to combine those aspects with my love of growing, at my allotment plot in Butterwick Road.
I need a rollator to walk, so my plot isn’t safe for me now; it needs adapting to raised beds and good paths. I’m sure there will be other people who perhaps had a plot, or would love a plot, but can’t manage it now. It’s my passion to make my plot accessible so they can enjoy it too. The raised beds and paths that make it safe for me, will make it safe and welcoming for others too.
The benefits of growing, the fresh air, peace and quiet, handling the delicate plants, soil, and produce will all help me rehabilitate after my treatment. I’ve always found joy in growing as relaxation from my busy and stressful work life.
I’m fortunate to come from an allotment family.
From the feeling of wellbeing to the complex trauma of PTSD, being involved in something gentle, physical and sociable can be enough to a make difference for many people. My plot will be amazing! Andy Shepherd from AJS Home & Gardening Services is project managing the project in his own time and without payment. Heroes don’t always wear capes!
If you see him, please tell him he’s doing great work, because he is. I’m raising funds through a funding page at https://gofundme.com/f/growing-to-adapt-to-multiple-sclerosis
I’m already in talks with fantastic organisations like Walking with The Wounded, BLESMA (veteran amputees) and Alzheimers Society. The plot needs finishing and risk assessing by the organisations. This regular column will both help my rehabilitation and raise awareness of the plot, I want to share it with others who will benefit, including Sedgefield residents of course.
Recently I was made very welcome by our own Sedgefield Veterans group. Thank you Kevin and Millie.
I’m grateful to Sedgefield Town Council for their patience. The plot is a huge undertaking, relying on volunteers and donations. It is taking time to make progress, as I’m in treatment too, but the volunteers are hard working and supportive, and my thanks go to them.
I’m planning lots of fun initiatives, nurturing wildlife, encouraging young gardeners, conserving the environment, reusing plastics etc. I’m working with the Soil Association towards being organic and sustainable. No sprays or chemicals and companion planting to work with nature, will keep our produce delicious and healthy, and the polytunnel will increase the length of the season for growing our goodies.
So this is a new chapter for me and I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’m enjoying.
If you see me out and about, feel free to say hello - I’m the blonde with the wheels - and if you can donate tools or materials, would like to help build the plot, or to visit later, then you can contact me for anything at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know the village will welcome and support my friends and visitors as they enjoy the facilities here.