Friday, 30 October 2020 10:29


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Green-fingered great-gran has helped hundreds of young offenders get their lives back on track thanks to her community allotment.

Dena, 92, often works three hours a day on her allotment in the Manchester district of New Moston, where she has lived for 24 years.
But this is a patch with a difference. The great-gran uses her love of gardening to help criminals learn new skills and repay their debt to society. So far, she has helped 300 ex-offenders complete community service orders by teaching them allotment gardening.
She says: “I am very proud that many of the young people I have worked with have gone onto higher education, and in some instances gained degrees.”
The pensioner is also the driving force behind charity Nephra Good Neighbours which aims to reduce isolation and loneliness in older people and she is never happier than when she’s out and about at the heart of her community.
In her allotment Dena grows 23 types of fruit and veg, which she uses to provide a weekly three course lunch for around 50 pensioners from New Moston. She and the NEPHRA team also run a takeaway service delivering meals to elderly people who are housebound.
And while her work with young offenders has been put on hold since the start of the pandemic, the meal deliveries have been needed more than ever before.
Pride of Britain sent Corrie stars Jennie McAlpine and Antony Cotton to work a shift on Dena’s allotment - and surprise her with her TSB Community Hero award, hidden in a wheelbarrow of freshly-picked veg.
A stunned Dena was then joined by family and friends - socially distanced of course - who gave her a rousing round of applause.
Dena, who won a Pride of Manchester award last year, said: "I was so proud to win a Pride of Manchester Award - it was amazing, but I never expected to win a Pride of Britain Award."


Read 2360 times Last modified on Friday, 30 October 2020 10:34

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