Lucy with volunteers from Nature & Nurture Activities

Local group supporting mental and physical health of Burford residents through growing fresh produce and connecting communities

Nature & Nurture Activities is a new community group in Burford made up of local volunteers who come together at a local allotment to grow plants, flowers, vegetables and fruit to help the community thrive.

Lucy Staveley, from Nature & Nurture Activities, said “West Oxfordshire District Council really helped us get on our feet as a new group starting in the pandemic was hard. Not only have they helped us purchase a shed and compost which the regular volunteers have benefitted from, but they have also helped us organise many Covid safe outdoor community volunteer days for the wider community.

“We’ve painted pots and planted bulbs with children from Burford preschool which was a really fun activity for them and they were able to learn about growing plants whilst getting creative at the same time. Duke of Edinburgh students have also been supported by us to plant trees and vegetables as well as planting and selling bulbs. This has been a great experience for them and we would not have been able to support them in the ways that we did without the support from the Council’s funding. Local Scouts have also been involved in Nature & Nurture Activities, they helped build the raised beds so we could plant more fruits and vegetables.”

It is not only the physical health of volunteers that have been improved by getting involved in outdoor activities, but also their mental health has improved by getting outside and socialising with people they may have otherwise not had contact with. Lockdown was especially hard for those vulnerable people who may have lived alone and not been able to have contact with anyone. This group has given them a place to come and socialise whilst also being in a safe outdoor environment.

Lucy has also been talking to different mental health charities and is hoping to organise visits to the allotment for patients who are struggling with their mental health, as a way to get out and about and feel a sense of purpose by growing fruit and vegetables which they can look after and enjoy once they’ve grown.

Another aim of Nature & Nurture Activities, other than improving mental and physical health for volunteers and supporting local groups in the community, is to provide local produce to the vulnerable residents in Burford who need it most. They hope with increased volunteers they will be able to grow more fruit and vegetables that will benefit the wider community of Burford, particularly the most vulnerable.

Cllr Joy Aitman, Cabinet Member for Stronger Healthy Communities, said “I’m so pleased we’ve been able to support this local group set up to support their community. The work they do is fantastic and I would like to thank all the volunteers involved.

“The pandemic has highlighted how important it is to care for our mental and physical health and to be able to do that in a way that not only helps people get back in touch with nature but also give back to their community is amazing.”

West Oxfordshire District Council was able to support Nature & Nurture Activities through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund which was received via Good Food Oxfordshire’s grant scheme. In more recent times as we recover from the pandemic, the Council is still committed to supporting community food groups.

If you wish to join Nature & Nurture Activities to meet new people and help plant fruit and vegetables, they meet between 3pm and 5pm every Sunday in the allotments off of Tanners Lane, Burford, OX18 4NA.

To find out more about Nature & Nurture Activities you can contact Lucy Staveley at [email protected]

Contact Information

West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team

[email protected]