Okehampton’s women’s charity, Gilead Foundations, received £1,000 from South West Water last week which will go towards the charity’s gardening project.
Following a visit to the centre by the water provider, representatives from South West Water presented a cheque for £1,000 which the charity will use to purchase more water butts for the centre’s garden and build more raised flower beds.
Joanna Morgan, fundraising and marketing manager for Gilead, said: ‘We are truly grateful to South West Water for this kind donation. It’s going to make such a difference to us and the environment with saving water.
‘Our residents are involved daily in horticulture and gardening, learning to grow their own vegetables and look after the environment.’
More water butts will enable Gilead gardeners to collect more rainwater as part of the charity’s plan to become more self-sufficient which has seen the women tend plants in an environmentally-friendly manner using organic fertiliser, growing seasonal plants and refraining from pesticides.
Gilead set up its horticulture programme over two years ago in order to help women with their physical and mental health with the help of Petroc College, which has campuses in Barnstaple and Tiverton.
Okehampton community group Men in Sheds volunteered at the centre once a week and helped to build compost bays and raised beds in a polytunnel and fill planters with wildlife-friendly plants.
The project has proved to be a such a success that, in October last year, the charity started to consider expanding the project to create an outside community space for ‘personal contemplation and traquillity and horticulture classes’.
Gilead’s work has also attracted other important local figures including Central Devon MP Mel Stride who visited the centre during National Mental Health Awareness Week in May this year.
Gilead Foundations is a Christian-focused charity in Jacobstowe near Okehampton which offers supported living services for women who are suffering with a range of difficulties, including drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, anxiety and domestic abuse.
The charity aims to help women in need by providing safe housing and support through therapy and other activities to give them the skills to live a happy, fulfilled and independent life.
The centre, which is situated on a farm, can provide accommodation for up to eight women at any one time along with support workers.
Alongside gardening, Gilead’s residents also get involved in other practical activities such as agricultural work which might include animal husbandry and other farm work.
West Devon and Devon County Councillor Lois Samuel runs the organisation. She is also a domestic abuse champion for the Local Government Association.
For more information visit www.gilead.org.uk
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