The Bide-a-While Penrose Roots to Recovery garden is a therapeutic growing space for people aged 16+. The project offers skills learning and employability, reduces social isolation, and promotes mental and physical wellbeing.

Penrose Roots offers service users access to a growing space, where they grow organic produce and participate in on-site workshops. We also enhance and encourage wildlife and regenerate unused land. Our aim is to support our clients to overcome social isolation. The project brings people together as a group, giving clients a renewed sense of purpose and reawakening old skills and interests.

We also promote recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, mental ill health, offending behaviour, homelessness and unemployment.

Penrose Roots offers our clients a range of opportunities, including:

  • access to a therapeutic open space
  • providing a place for clients to grow and cook organic food, enhancing healthy eating and benefiting our clients’ food budget
  • access to healing centres in a natural environment, for people with mental and physical ill health
  • access to recreation, exercise, therapy, education and work skills through the twice-weekly Men’s Sheds and Women’s Sheds workshops. We offer woodwork, upholstery, upcycling and crafts. Projects have included raising funds to buy materials to build a hand-crafted doll’s house, for donation to Keech Children’s Hospice
  • signposting to relevant support services, where needs are identified

How to refer?

  • Self-referrals
  • Referrals from Penrose Luton services
  • Referrals from external partners, including ACE, ELFT, New Horizons, GPs (social prescribing) and other agencies.

Client stories:

“My name is Brian and I joined Penrose Roots.

I thoroughly enjoy coming down here. When I started, it was a wasteland. We’ve done marvellous there. It’s great, especially for people who don’t get out much. “Years ago everybody had a garden, but we’ve sort of lost that I think. We enjoy working with the soil, then planting something and seeing it grow – especially if you can eat it afterwards.” “If you’re up in the allotment, there are lots of other people up there you can meet and become friends with.”

Kathy: “I’m very happy that I took up the offer of Penrose Roots”

“For 25 years, I lived in a house with a large garden. I spent a lot of time and energy tending the garden, growing flowers and vegetables. Due to changes in my personal life, I had to move to a flat with no garden.

“I went along to Penrose Roots to see what it could offer me. I had the opportunity to spend some of my time productively, gardening at the allotment. I had the chance to meet other people. I’m very happy that I took up the offer of Penrose Roots, as it has led to other activities which I have taken part in and enjoyed.”