Bents Garden & Home has teamed up with Shoulder to Soldier, donating a plot at its community allotment site to the Leigh-based charity, which dedicates it’s time to supporting serving personnel, their families and veterans.
Shoulder to Soldier was formed in June 2017, and is committed to providing support, practical advice, financial relief and social welfare for those who are serving or who have served in our armed forces. It was a veteran who suggested the use of an allotment to help improve mood and motivation and within 24 hours of making the request a plot was donated by Bents.
Very much a veteran-led project, the allotment has already been visited by a team of 10, plus one current serving member. Everyone who wishes to will have a role in the project and the ex-forces engineers are already using their skills to design the layout which will take into account disabled veterans.
Shoulder to Soldier founder Linda Fisher said: “The allotment is already proving very beneficial and will help improve health and well-being, team building and getting our guys out and about to meet and socialise with new people. It is fantastic. Thank you to Bents for providing this fantastic facility, which is already proving to be a very popular and thank you to the local businesses who have already supported the project by donating or reducing the price of items.”
Bents Garden & Home head of outdoor retail Matthew Dickinson, who is also responsible for the Bents’ Community Allotments commented: “We have been looking for local groups to take advantage of our community plots but have had little interest, so were delighted when Linda approached us about a plot for Shoulder to Soldier. They are exactly the kind of initiative that we hoped would take advantage of this opportunity and we had no hesitation in agreeing to their request. We’re looking forward to seeing the plot take shape.”
In addition to financial support, the work delivered by Shoulder to Soldier includes advocacy and advice for armed forces families, writing letters, attending benefits appeal hearings on a range of matters covering homelessness and housing, general finance, benefits and employment related matters.
Another local company, Culcheth Paving has donated base flags for an allotment shed and the charity has raised funds for the shed. Bob Brockelhurst of Garden Building Supplies gave a 35% discount and local veteran Kevin Moore has designed a wooden plaque for the shed. The charity would welcome any other offers of support for tools, seeds, plans and equipment.