How Souter Lighthouse is cultivating a new allotment project – with a stunning coastal backdrop

A brand new chance to cultivate your own fruit and veg is under way – right by the coast.

An open day has been held to tell people more about an allotment project which is based at Souter Lighthouse.

Organisers are hoping people, particularly older people, can enjoy gardening while mixing with others – especially after they spent so long in isolation during the pandemic.

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Anyone who takes part will also get to grow produce with the backdrop of the North East coastline.

The allotment project which is under way at Souter Lighthouse.

But the benefits of the scheme could go even further, said Alison Brown, who is a Connect 2 Worker with Age Concern Tyneside South which is one of the organisations behind the project.

"If there is too much produce grown, it could be passed on to food banks.”

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The main aim of the project is to get people back out in the community. “For me, it is all about getting in to the fresh air,” said Alison.

The Souter Lighthouse allotment mental health initiative open day. Pictured from left to right are South Tyneside Council leader Coun Tracey Dixon, volunteer Les Allon, organiser Alison Brown, volunteer Abby Cassidy and Coun Jane Carter.

The new scheme started when a weekly men’s group from ACTS teamed up with staff from SeaScapes.

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They held a litter pick at Trow Rocks beach and the nearby fields. They collected eight bags of rubbish but the benefits went further as it was also the first ‘mindfulness walk’ that some of the men had ever enjoyed.

They also got to see the natural habitat of wildlife around Souter Lighthouse and for some of the group, it was their first visit to the lighthouse.

Thanks to the link-up between the two organisations, the National Trust, which looks after the lighthouse, has donated two of their allotment plots, said ACTS.

Volunteer Les Allon gets stuck in to some work at the Souter Lighthouse allotment mental health initiative open day.
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Alison added: “This project encourages the residents of South Tyneside to come along and have a positive impact on the area which can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The open day also explained how people could become National Trust volunteers and get membership of the Trust.

For more information on the allotment scheme, contact [email protected] or telephone (0191) 4566903 and ask to speak to Alison Brown.

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Volunteer Abby Cassidy pictured at the open day.
A wonderful setting for the open day.