A BOURNEMOUTH charity has revealed a new way of improving the health of vulnerable people in Bournemouth.

Housing association, BCHA's has started a 'growth project' aiming to use horticultural activities to help people overcome a range of difficulties including unemployment, mental health, substance abuse and social isolation.

Based primarily at BCHA’s New Leaf Company allotment in Throop, the six-week training project is open to anyone over the age of 19 and unemployed.

Those taking part will learn about fruit and vegetable growing, wildlife conservation and plant identification, as well as stress-less methods and mindfulness.

Project leader Kate Coughlan said: “The Growth Project is aimed at improving the wellbeing of vulnerable or disadvantaged adults using a range of bespoke horticultural and personal development activities and support.

“It will provide a range of education, training and support to enable clients to become more active, healthier and less isolated – allowing beneficiaries to cope more effectively with everyday life pressures. It will also aim to increase their chances of achieving and sustaining independent living.”

The 2.2-acre allotment includes plenty of space for fruit and vegetable growing, three poly tunnels, a herb/butterfly garden, a summer house, an apple orchard and three ponds.

The first course runs on Thursdays from 10am to 2.30pm beginning with an enrolment session on October 18 at the New Leaf allotment with lunch, drinks and travel expenses provided.

In the event of adverse weather conditions it will be held at BCHA’s Head office, St Swithun’s House, in central Bournemouth.

The New Leaf Company, based at The Factory in Alder Hills, Poole, is the not-for-profit social enterprise arm of BCHA which aims to improve the lives and the environment of people living and working in Bournemouth and Poole.

To find out more email BCHA at newleafallotment@bcha.org.uk or call 01202 410500.