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With funding made available from Leitrim County Council, Breffni Family Resource Centre has opened its gates to the community with the Breffni Community Allotment Project. Opened since September 2009, many people and groups are seeing the benefits of having an allotment. The advantages are vast and varied and include:
 

·         Cheap source of fresh fruit and vegetables

·         Exercise / Improved Health (knowing what you are eating, keeping your mind active and exercising your body)

·         Ground level and raised beds for the less mobile are available

·         Opportunity to spend time outside enjoying nature

·         Sense of achievement and well-being

·         Giving your mind something positive to focus on

·         Chance to learn new horticultural skills

·         Reduction in stress and improved relaxation

·         Chance to escape the pressures of modern living

·         Helps community spirit and offers an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life

·         Environment benefits by providing green spaces and wildlife habitats

·         A chance for children to learn where food comes from

·         Community groups can participate as well as individuals and families

Having an allotment can be a wonderful experience, and it's true that the more effort you put in, the more you'll be rewarded. You can grow your own vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs and reduce your living costs while providing yourself with the unbeatable taste of home grown produce - nothing tastes as good as when you’ve grown it yourself!

Allotments are not only places of escape for many people; they also provide a valuable haven for a variety of plants and wildlife by providing a natural environment. Breffni FRC also offers regular Organic Gardening Workshops which provide an invaluable source of knowledge and information for all levels of gardener.

Studies have recognised the cultural, social and recreational values associated with allotments and community gardens. Values include the pleasure obtained from participating in an enjoyable, outdoor, social, activity. Groups and organisations are encouraged to join Breffni Allotments; so far we have had many groups taking ownership of their own allotments with all the benefits that come with it.  Groups at Breffni Allotments have included youth groups, children, people with mental health issues and people with disabilities, enabling an environment where participants can interact, achieve and succeed together while providing fresh, nutritious and healthy food.

There are opportunities at Breffni to tie allotments with both children and adult education to encourage children and adults to take an active interest in growing healthy food and enjoying the process as a whole. The benefits include children and adults developing a better understanding of where food comes from and an understanding of the environment, and not least, the benefits gained from eating healthily.

Allotment gardening is still a very low-cost activity that contributes towards creating a much better environment in towns, supplying food according to people's food preferences, and keeping people in contact with nature and their community.

Allotments are the perfect model for recycling. There's no packaging to the crops you produce, and any waste is used to form compost for the following season. All kinds of things can be recycled on allotments. Green waste from your garden or kitchen can be recycled in a compost site along with newspaper and cardboard.

Additionally, plastic bottles can be reused as cloches, cardboard tubes as plant pots and aluminium foil as bird scarers. The list is limited only by your imagination!

Breffni Allotments are wheelchair accessible with raised beds available for the less mobile. Breffni Community Composting is also available on-site, along with the use of garden shed, greenhouse, parking facilities, on site water tap, and insurance cover. Please contact Breffni Family Resource Centre for further information by calling: 071-9622566 or by visiting our website at: www.breffnifrc.com