The project was started six years ago by Jane Payton. She is Coordinator. Liz Williams is Allotment Assistant. 

The group meets every Wednesday from 10am-4pm and the allotment is based at Gardener Avenue, Harris Drive in Bootle. 

Jane Payton

Jane explained why the allotment is so important to the women who use it.

She said: “ I think gardening is beneficial for everybody to do, to be outside in the fresh air, sunshine, rain and wind. It makes you feel alive. It makes you feel connected, and you are more aware of what is going around you. The process of growing food that you can eat is incredibly satisfying. It is always a work in progress and you see results. For example, growing your own potatoes, taking them home and cooking them the same day, they taste wonderful. A lot of the crops we grow are of an unusual heritage such as quince and purple potatoes. 

“The women are tempted and encouraged to try food that they would never do.  A lot of these foods are not available in the shops because of the way that they grow. We are not just feeding the mind but the body, spirit and soul. It is an all encompassing activity with a good sense of community.” 

Liz highlighted the social opportunities that the women have when they come to the allotment. 

She said: "The allotment is important as it provides a quiet safe space to potter, chat, drink tea and the wonderful thing about growing produce, herbs and flowers is that you cannot get it wrong. The allotment is a really important place where everyone is equal. It is somewhere to go on good and also not so good days. It is big enough to get on with something on your own if you want and sociable enough to join in with others. It is a happy place to be." 

Some of the women gave their thoughts about how the allotment has helped them and why they would recommend it to others.

One woman said: “We had a problem in my family with heroin addiction and it was absolutely devastating. I needed a place that was non-judgemental, so I could stand back and assess the situation and try to identify the way forward.

“The allotment is incredibly supportive, very accepting and I feel I grow every single time. I have been going for two years now. It has given me space to think and something to look forward to each week. It has given me friendships. Also, there are other people who have problems and it enables me to put mine into perspective.

“ You should not be shy to come to the allotment on your own that does not even come into the equation. I would encourage anybody to come and be with the people and plants because they are very accepting.” 

Another woman said: “I am breaking free from the voices I hear because of my illness when I go. I have taken home crops including potatoes, strawberries and chard with me. I made an apple pie from what I grew and that was nice.

“I would recommend it because as well as being therapeutic for you, you are seeing what you are planting and the end result is that you get to bring it home. You do get a lot from it.”

To find out more about the allotment project contact Jane Payton at  or phone 0151 933 3292.



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Swan Women's Centre is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1011971 and company number 2720502 at Linacre Road, Litherland, Liverpool, L21 6NR. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. To learn more, read our privacy policy.
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