Green shoots of recovery in new gardening project

editorial image

Recovering addicts are turning over a new leaf with a brand new garden project at the 1st Step Cafe.

The cafe at The Longcroft Hall in Philip Avenue, Linlithgow is in its second year and has been helping those in recovery from addiction and mental health problems.

They have set up various projects such as bike recycling and cooking classes and this year a garden project has been created with support from St Ninian’s-Craigmailen Church.

The group received funding from West Lothian Council and gardening tools and wheelbarrows from Polmont Young Offenders.

Volunteers are learning to grow their own vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers and last week saw the first sod cut.

Over the next few weeks they will be planting the seeds and in a couple of months they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour when the vegetables have grown.

Patricia Chapman, who is chairperson of the eco-congregation group at the church, said: “Gardening is good for the soul and very therapeutic. They are outside in the fresh air and will be working, planting and doing different jobs.

“It helps them in the long term not just physically but mentally too and it gives them a purpose.”

To celebrate the two-year anniversary since the opening of the cafe, a ceilidh has been organised on Saturday, May 6 at the Longcroft Hall from 7.30pm-10.30pm. There is also a buffet and a raffle. Tickets priced £4 (unwaged), £8 (waged), are available from 07484 273207.