Green shoots of recovery

GROWING TOGETHER: BCHA Development Coach Kate Coughlan, who is leading The Growth Project, at the New Leaf Company allotment in Throop

A new initiative aimed at improving the well-being of vulnerable or disadvantaged people is being launched in the Bournemouth area.

BCHA’s Growth Project will use horticultural activities to help participants overcome a range of difficulties such as unemployment, mental health, substance abuse and social isolation.

Based primarily at BCHA’s New Leaf Company allotment in Throop, the six-week training project is open to anyone over the age of 19 and unemployed.

Those taking part will learn about fruit and vegetable growing, wildlife conservation and plant identification, as well as stress-less methods and mindfulness.

The scheme is supported through project and partnership funding by adult learning service Skills & Learning Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole.

It is part of the Bournemouth 2026 Community Strategy in which local government identified a need for increased volunteering and employability.

Project leader Kate Coughlan said: “The Growth Project is aimed at improving the well-being of vulnerable or disadvantaged adults using a range of bespoke horticultural and personal development activities and support.

“It will provide a range of education, training and support to enable clients to become more active, healthier and less isolated – allowing beneficiaries to cope more effectively with everyday life pressures. It will also aim to increase their chances of achieving and sustaining independent living.”

Kate added: “If you are facing any of a wide range of issues – such as mental health, learning difficulties, unemployment, substance misuse, social isolation, or low or no qualifications – then this course could be for you.”

The 2.2-acre allotment includes plenty of space for fruit and vegetable growing, three poly tunnels, a herb/butterfly garden, a summer house, an apple orchard and three ponds.

The first course runs on Thursdays from 10am to 2.30pm beginning with an enrolment session on October 18 at the New Leaf allotment with lunch, drinks and travel expenses provided.

In the event of adverse weather conditions it will be held at BCHA’s Head office, St Swithun’s House, in central Bournemouth.

The New Leaf Company, based at The Factory in Alder Hills, Poole, is the not-for-profit social enterprise arm of BCHA which aims to improve the lives and the environment of people living and working in Bournemouth and Poole.

It provides residential housing and commercial repairs and maintenance, a co-working hub, catering contracts, conference and training rooms, office rental, gardening and cleaning.

To find out more email BCHA at or call 01202 410500.


  • BCHA

St Swithuns House
21 Christchurch Road
01202 410 500

Twitter: @BCHAnews

BCHA is a charity which has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for 50 years.
It has helped more than 10,000 people each year off the streets, out of abuse, over skills barriers, and on to independence

It offers people who need support in finding ‘a way forward’.

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association was founded in 1968 by a number of local churches, to try to make a practical contribution to local housing problems.

Since then, BCHA has grown from strength to strength.

It is a major provider of a diverse range of housing, support and learning services for socially excluded people. Although based in Bournemouth, it currently delivers services across the south from Plymouth to Reading.

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association Limited is a charitable registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority No. 18497R and with the Homes and Communities Agency No. LH0155.


  • News release issued by Cliff Moore of Deep South Media – 01202 534487 (office), 07469 158458 (mobile) or email