Life-changing allotment project takes on new site as it aims to help even more

An allotment scheme which is helping to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities is to be replicated - this time in support of those battling mental health demons.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 7:43 am
New allotment at Boldon Colliery by Holder House CIC Chris Convery. Back from left Philip Brooks, Keith Parkin, and Chris Tilbrook

Over the years the Holder House Project, which is based in Whiteleas, South Shields, has founded its reputation on providing help and support to those who use its many services.

Now, manager Chris Convery is aiming to duplicate its success in Boldon where he has taken over an allotment plot.

New allotment at Boldon Colliery. From left Philip Brooks, Keith Parkin, Holder House CIC Chris Convery and Chris Tilbrook

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The area will be used as a place of sanctuary for people battling mental health problems - a place where they will be able to learn a range of horticultural skills and meet new people.

The scheme, which will run seperately to the Holder House project, is being supported by a £9,800 cash grant from the Big Lottery.

Mr Convery, who has been helping to prepare the site alongside volunteers, said: “The project is very much in its infancy stage but we have lots of plans going forward.

“We have an allotment plot which we will be transformed over time by those who access the project.

New allotment at Boldon Colliery by Holder House CIC Chris Convery

“We know there are a lot of people suffering with various forms of mental health, and we also know there is hardly anywhere for them to go to access support.

“There is a huge gap when it comes to mental health and we hope by opening up the site it will give people a place where they can go.

“Through the project, we are hoping to create a place where people can come and we can help them to build their self-esteem and confidence, as well as their overall health and wellbeing.”

He added: “Holder House Allotment Project in Whiteleas started off small but has developed and grown over the years. And a lot of the work on the site has been carried out by the service users.

“We are hoping to create a similar success in Boldon around mental health.”

A number of plans are being put in place for the future of the site, including work to put up fencing around the site and to have a container on the land where people can chat over a cuppa.

It is hoped in the near future, running water will be able to be accessed.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the project can call Chris on 07876 338 825 or visit