A Jubilee for the Earth – Lalley Centre Allotment

Wednesday 16th September 2020

Caritas Salford’s Kathryn Ansley writes on the Season For The Care Of Creation: 1st September—4th October

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”             

Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Has the Season for the Care of Creation ever previously been more welcome, more urgent, than now in 2020, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic?

The Season for the Care of Creation is our annual Christian celebration of prayer and action for our Common Home. This year’s theme, ‘A Jubilee for the Earth,’ presents us with an opportunity to renew our commitment to our role as stewards by repairing and restoring our personal relationship with God, with one another and with all of creation.

Using Laudato Si’—Pope Francis’s 2015 visionary letter to the world on caring for our common home—as our road map, Caritas Diocese of Salford is proud to be an active leader in a wide number of initiatives that seek to improve the integral and fragile relationship between the world we inhabit, and ecological, economic and social ways of life.

Across all of our services, Caritas is working hard to make a difference in caring for our Common Home by supporting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters who are most impacted by the effects of our unjust world. We are also supporting the development of the Diocese Laudato Si’ Project at Wardley Hall, supporting school and parish eco initiatives, and developing active young leaders and future advocates through our schools Caritas Ambassador Scheme. We host the Northern Diocesan Environmental Forum meetings where ideas and initiatives are shared, and ensure our internal policies and procedures conform to the social teaching of the Church, aiming for a just and fair world for all.

One example of a living prayer for the Care of Creation happening right now in a community in the middle of inner city Manchester, is the Caritas Lalley Centre Allotment in Collyhurst, run by Allotment Co-ordinator, Ladislav Maluch (known as Lad).

Making A Difference

In recent years, thanks to Lad’s tender, loving care and the support of Lalley Centre Manager Sam Birch, the allotment has developed into a vital component of the Lalley’s service provision to the local community. Open to people of all ages, the allotment is an attractive proposition to anyone craving fresh air, a change of scenery (especially after having been cooped up during lockdown), friendly company and a chance to re-connect with nature by learning to grow healthy, seasonal produce. As Lad says, “Our allotment needs you, but you may find you need the allotment.”

One volunteer recently shared his story about the positive difference the Lalley Allotment has made to his life and wellbeing: “Things went downhill in my life and I was lacking purpose. I saw how much work the allotment needed and I wanted something to get stuck into so I have taken it into so I have taken it as a challenge. It helps to be busy. It fills my time constructively and having a routine is a good thing.

“I enjoy being outdoors. I have learnt how to grow food which is healthy and tasty. I enjoy using my hands, whether it’s for harvesting or maintenance. I also enjoy the peaceful silence as well as having good conversations with others. I have met some nice people.”

From Allotment to Table

Despite the setback of lockdown and ongoing necessary social distancing restrictions due to the pandemic, there has been a steady  harvest of a wide variety of fruit and vegetables from the allotment throughout the spring and summer. Raspberries, gooseberries,  rhubarb, lettuce, radishes, broad beans, pak choi and potatoes were dug up by joyful volunteers. All grown organically, much of the produce goes to the Lalley Foodbank, making fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables available for families to enjoy, but any surplus can go home with those who helped harvest it.

Connecting With Community

A major strength of the Lalley Centre and allotment is reaching out and connecting with the local community in which they are based to create positive partnerships with agencies such as the Jigsaw Foundation who have supported recent socially distanced, inter-generational activity days based at the allotment, including making flowering hanging baskets and decorative pots to take home, and sharing the latest advice on how to make homes more energy efficient.

The Future

In terms of the Lalley Allotment’s future, the possibilities are many. Lad was recently filmed giving a presentation on how to forage safely for edible mushrooms. Nature blogs are planned as well as further outreach projects and initiatives to promote the Lalley Allotment as an active inter-generational, environmental hub where new skills, new friendships and a love for our common home can all be nurtured.

All things considered, Caritas’s little corner of Creation in Collyhurst is in safe hands and is a true living example of putting into practice the principles of caring for Our Common Home, which Pope Francis so passionately calls us all to adopt in Laudato Si’.

How You Can Help

You can support the Caritas Lalley Centre and Allotment in a variety of ways. Subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidance, the Lalley Allotment is currently open to volunteers by prior appointment each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, between 9AM and 4PM. Contact Lad or Sam on 0161 205 2754 or lalleycentre@caritassalford.org.uk

To donate goods, please contact to arrange a drop-off.

To make a financial donation, please visit the Caritas website or make a cheque payable to Caritas Lalley Centre and send to Caritas Salford, Cathedral Centre, 3 Ford Street, Salford, M3 6DP.

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