Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust (DGT) is pleased to announce Valley Hospital Charity has been awarded a £3,000 grant through Dartford Borough Council’s Green Fund for its community allotment project.

The initiative, in collaboration with Healthy Living Centre Dartford, is designed to encourage green-fingered, volunteer members of staff, patients and local residents to nurture allotments that will eventually supply produce for a range of healthy eating and health promotion schemes within the hospital and beyond.

The project was officially launched in August 2023 and the grand opening saw a team of 20 volunteers digging the first three beds within the allotment space in preparation for the planting phase this autumn.

The grant from the Council will enable the charity to purchase educational resources (£1,000), a greenhouse (£1,000) and wooden seating (£1,000) so that educational and therapeutic gardening sessions can be delivered at Darent Valley Hospital to groups of individuals from the local community. These will include school children (particularly those from deprived areas within the borough) and the elderly.

There are a host of additional benefits to patients, staff and local residents accessing the community garden. They would include:

  • Being able to enjoy fresh, organic produce which could also be utilised in the hospital canteen.
  • Produce distributed to those facing financial hardship.
  • Opportunities for learning new skills and meeting new people.
  • Access to a beautiful green space for people to relax.
  • Physical exercise through the cultivation of crops.

Upon receiving the contribution, DGT’s Chief Strategy and Improvement Officer, Alexandra Bode-Tunji, said: “The Trust is extremely grateful to Dartford Borough Council for this generous funding. It will make a huge difference to our allotment project, which will ultimately enable us to work together with the community to support them to live healthier lives – a rationale that forms one of the Trust’s crucial strategic priorities.”

The Trust and Valley Hospital Charity are also appreciative for their charity partners and sponsors who have already supplied equipment such as tools, gardening supplies and a wooden tool store.

Should any members of the community be interested in volunteering or if any local businesses are interested in sponsoring any elements of the project, please contact Moira Mitchell, Head of Engagement, Experience and Inclusion at moira.mitchell4@nhs.net