The weather may still be chilly, but green shoots were showing at Duffryn Community Allotment in Newport where the first working day of the season got off to a flying start this week.
36 people from the estate turned out in wellies and woollies to get the first gardening jobs of the year under way. It being half term, there were plenty of children lending a hand.
The allotment, funded by Oxfam Cymru and The Co-operative Group, has now expanded to include a disused grassy area, and everyone soon got stuck in to uncover a huge bricked circle hidden under the turf.
Then there was weeding to be done and thick overgrowth on the walls to be cut back. After all the hard work, the gardeners went indoors to warm up, and enjoy delicious homemade soups cooked by fellow volunteers.
"It was a great turnout and everyone felt glad to get back in action," said Sarah Lewis, an allotment volunteer who also runs the project's fascinating website: http://duffryngrowyourown.weebly.com
Jane Lewis, Duffryn Community Link's Learning Co-ordinator said: "It was fantastic to see everyone getting stuck in and enjoying the allotment. Here's hoping we have many more days like this!"
The allotment is very much community-run with the support of the National Trust, Growing Spaces and Duffryn Community Link, Oxfam Cymru's local partner for one of its Livelihoods projects under the charity's UK Programme. The project works directly with families on the estate, including many of the gardeners, to support their parenting goals and other positive life choices.
Oxfam Cymru's Livelihoods project in Newport is supported by the Big Lottery Fund Wales.