Watch Alive’s dementia-friendly allotment on Gardeners’ World this week!

Filming at Alive's dementia-friendly allotment in Brentry for Gardeners' World

We hear from Alive’s Community Gardens Manager Abi Sweet about how Alive’s dementia-friendly allotments will feature on Gardeners’ World this week. Don’t miss the episode on Friday 7 October at 8pm on BBC Two.

In August 2021, the Alive team received a call in the office…it was Gardeners’ World!!

One of the researchers on the programme had seen a feature the BBC ran about a new, dementia-friendly allotment which had just opened in North Bristol and thought it might make an interesting subject for a piece on the BBC’s flagship gardening programme.

It took almost a year of planning, but finally the day came for filming.

The shoot at the allotment

Filming at Alive’s dementia-friendly allotment in Brentry for Gardeners’ World

As per our request, a small team of just five came from Gardeners’ World, including presenter Toby Buckland – a great choice as Toby is a keen supporter of Thrive, the gardening for health charity and various other similar organisations. 

The team were brilliant, had obviously done their research and were incredibly considerate to everyone’s needs, giving us lots of space to run our groups in the morning and afternoon. They interviewed everyone involved with the project with impressive sensitivity. 

For us, it was a joy to watch some of our regular participants being the focus of attention, being given space to talk about what they love about gardening and being made feel like what they had to say mattered. Toby spoke to one of our regulars about callaloo for a good thirty minutes! Everyone appeared so proud to be able to share their stories and to be made to feel important.

The episode will air on Friday 7 October at 8pm on BBC Two.

The Alive team

The benefits of sharing our story

Appearing on a national TV platform is great exposure for the charity and our work. We especially hope it will raise awareness about the importance of meaningful, engaging activities for older people and people living with dementia. With the screening coming in the same month as Bristol Age UK’s celebrating age festival, it’s also an opportunity to showcase the work older people living in Bristol have achieved in just under a year and challenge age-related stereotypes. 

We also got an opportunity to talk about Bristol’s vibrant community gardens network, and especially to talk about Blaise Nursery’s scheme whereby they donate seedlings to local community growing groups, some of the crops from which end up at food banks. 

Abi Sweet, Toby Buckland and Guy Manchester at the allotment

We also hope it will platform the potential community role allotments can play in society. With the length of allotment waiting lists, we can’t help but wonder if turning a section of every allotment over to the community (that is inviting those on the waiting list to tend it) might be the answer. It would also give people an idea of what maintaining an allotment is like, so when they come top of the list, they’re fully aware of the commitment involved.

We also hope that there will be an increase in the number of people wishing to join the groups at the allotment. If you know someone who may like to join us, or if you’d like to support our groups as a volunteer, donate, or find out more, visit our website for more information.

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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