FOR Ealing-based charity MindFood, reconnecting people with nature has been crucial to their wellbeing during the pandemic.

Now, the group is being awarded almost £10,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.  

MindFood’s Plot to Plate programme helps people tackle stress, depression, anxiety and isolation and reconnects them with nature.

Participants can grow fruit, veg, flowers and herbs and embrace the environment through guided walks and creative projects.

Lucy Clark, MindFood programme director, said: “MindFood gave me the tools, time and space to recover from burnout and depression.

“Three weeks after joining I realised I never wanted to work indoors again and it inspired me to train for a new career in social and therapeutic horticulture.

“The grant allows us to focus on helping people recover at their own pace.

“Gardening is just a backdrop to what we do. A lot of people who live in cities get disconnected with nature and don’t tend to see the green around them.

“London is, in fact, 47% green, yet many would say London is grey.”

MindFood has so far received more than £20,000 of National Lottery funding to help those struggling with the effects of lockdown.

The latest project will run for six months at Horsenden Hill and Cleveley Crescent Allotments in Ealing and will support more than 100 people.

Heather Parsons, 73, who has attended Plot to Plate for four years, said the group had been a real life-saver for her mental health.

“For most of us Plot to Plate is the main thing in our lives, especially over the pandemic when we were unable to see family and friends.

“It’s a just a huge mix of people who got on really well and look out for each other.”