The particular focus of the group for the Elevate project was based around Brookville’s Scullery O’Tullagh Project, located in Tullygarley in the outskirts of Ballymena, where activities include the sowing, growing and harvesting of fruit and vegetables.
This was the second project that Elevate had supported at Tullygarley. The first project allowed the group to complete their covered reception area to make the area more accessible and useable for local groups, while this project allowed the group to consolidate their position by inviting various groups such as the local running club, the local seniors’ club and local artists to visit their expansive site. The purpose of the project was to share the knowledge of being able to grow your own vegetables/fruit so that in addition to being physically active, participants could also create and develop nutritious and delicious meals –hence the Plot to Plate programme. The impact of this programme was that it enabled people who were isolated to come to the allotments, meet new people and reduce their feeling of isolation especially during lockdown.
Through the Elevate mentoring support they received from Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) the group focused on expanding their activities further out into the community. They learned how to break the insular culture they previously had and go ‘outside their box’ to positively engage with other individuals/groups, to show them the value of the work that they were doing and, in many cases, to help the other groups on their own particular journey. The sessions with the mentor also helped the group to see the importance of addressing health inequalities through education and awareness.