First-year architecture students at Cambridge University have been helping local homeless charity Cambridge Cyrenians to redevelop their allotment site.
They’ve created a new development called Growing Space at the site, comprising a new tool shed, including a rainwater collecting roof, a bike storage space, a market stall, a bird and bug ‘hotel’ made from chestnut logs, plus a secluded area and a social space for users to have a cuppa.
Everything has been made from found materials, and designed, planned and built by the students in eight weeks.
Project leader Mark Smith said: “Why spend five years on theoretical projects when you could be involved with developing and building designs with exciting organisations like Cyrenians?”
The charity was set up as an alternative to traditional hostels, offering a range of accommodation, support and specialist services.
The allotment grows fruit and veg that participants can take, and produce is also donated to other homeless shelters and sold at local fairs. The project was designed by horticultural therapist Ruth Nicholls to offer a meaningful activity for homeless people, helping to provide training, improve physical and mental health and develop new skills. She coordinated the project for the Cyrenians. “The team thoroughly enjoyed working on the architecture projects with the first-year students,” she said. “They are already making good use of the six completed working spaces.”