A BOOMING allotment scheme in South Tyneside had a ‘quacking’ time helping its members to plot a creative course.
Holder House Garden Project in Whiteleas, South Shields, hosted a craft workshop – giving youngsters the chance to create their own wooden duck.
The initiative offers people who have disabilities a chance to make new friends and develop a love of horticulture and the great outdoors.
The allotment scheme supports adults and young people with disabilities, as well as offering a chance to relax for young carers, while school pupils also come along to volunteer as part of their Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Activities from planting and growing to building walls, are on offer throughout the year.
Loree Moran Wilson from Make Your Way, a group offering arts and crafts days, was on hand to lead the creative session.
Service users worked with her to build and paint the ducks, which they can be used as toys or as planting tubs to be used during the group’s gardening activities.
Chris Convery, project manager at Holder House, said: “It’s been really good. The children have enjoyed themselves and worked as a team.
“We will be looking at doing a lot more artistic work, using the environment, round the trees. We’re looking for funding from the arts council to expand the site.
“It’s been good working with Loree, who has shared her skills with the group.
“We’ve created a safe environment and it is accessible to everyone. We’re converting our woodwork room, making sure it is wheelchair friendly, and warm and clean. That will be used in the New Year.
“The garden is becoming an asset for everyone. It is a place people can come and enjoy.” Ms Wilson, project lead for Make Your Way, said: “We have been using traditional DIY skills with woodwork.
“We brought the ducks in flatpack and got the children to sand them all down and paint them.
“They get to choose their own design and after all the sessions, they get to take them home.”
She says the project is a good way to get people to work together and pass on skills.
Service users can boost their DIY skills in the woodwork room while an on-site classroom was built last year to help with gardening lessons.
She added: “People can pass on skills. If you don’t know how gardening or DIY, then everyone passes on their skills.
“It’s all about communities coming together and helping each other out and having that underlying support.
“When you speak to service users, there is always positive feedback.”