The Comfrey Project provides refugees and people seeking asylum across Tyneside with a safe, welcoming environment, which promotes personal well-being through a sense of place and belonging. This is achieved by various shared creative crafts including allotment gardening, cooking and crafts. We have a down to earth approach to social integration and community health. Listening, sharing and inclusion are fundamental to everything we do.
Group allotment sessions are run on allotment sites across Newcastle and Gateshead. The sessions are facilitated by a project worker, who provides support and information to enable participants to cultivate a small plot on the allotments and/or group plots. Construction and site maintenance, landscaping and building furniture for use on the allotments are also activities that participants can be involved in. Prior gardening experience is not required and whilst many participants enjoy the opportunity to tend to their own plot and grow produce, others come along to enjoy the group work and the opportunity to socialise and relax in a peaceful and supportive environment. The sessions include shared lunch and the opportunity for English language conversation.
We encourage integration, by introducing participants to other activities organised both by the Project and by other local voluntary and community projects. We provide emotional and practical support to participants, and where necessary signpost them on to relevant statutory or voluntary agencies for additional support and advice. Support comes not just from staff but from group members as well.
We seek to create a safe space, where everyone is welcomed, respected and listened to.