Project impact – social and horticultural

Ian volunteers!

A Muddy Biography

About a month before the Corona virus lock-down, Ian came to join the team of volunteer Muddy Boots gardeners, referred to us by Groundworks.

He is relatively newly back in Burton on Trent and lives alone in a flat in Burton town centre and had not had time to make friends or find a job before we were all on lock-down.

Instead of staying entirely at home- which Ian says would have driven him crazy and made him depressed- he decided to make use of his daily walk and exercise in the most productive manner.

A quiet, reflective corner at Muddy Boots

During the seven weeks to date (20th May 2020), Ian has transformed our allotment, which we feared might go to rack and ruin during the lock-down.

Beginning with just an hour or so a day, Ian has progressed to working up to five hours at a time on the allotment, digging, planting and watering as well as using his other practical skills to fit out the poly-tunnel with staging, build a compost bin and a manure store- and he is currently laying a beautiful brick path inside the poly-tunnel with bricks someone was giving away.

The poly-tunnel has been used by Pat, a local parish councillor, to raise seedling plants to beautify the planters and pots in the parish of Branston. Ian and Pat have developed a socially distanced friendship and a good working relationship and they have got to know many other allotments gardeners.

They have acquired numerous useful bits of equipment which other gardeners, in giving up their plots, would have otherwise discarded! Ian is endlessly inventive, re-cycling, up-cycling and decorating items nobody else wanted.

Ian’s contribution to Muddy Boots has been immense- and he says that having productive things to do has protected him from loneliness and despair.

He has made friends and is using his creative mind and practical skills in ever- developing ways: he constantly surprises us with his ingenuity.

He is hoping to use his recent skills and qualifications as a landscape gardener to find paid work. Ian says :” Muddy Boots gets me out and about for fresh air and exercise and has given me new friends and a brighter future”.

Thank you Ian, from all the ‘Muddy Booters‘.

Article: Courtesy of Christine Birkett