A HOMELESS hostel hopes a new kitchen garden will help it to ditch its image as a ‘doss house’.

Jonathan Sutton, CEO of St Paul’s Hostel, in Tallow Hill, Worcester, hopes the facility will enable residents to tackle trauma from their past.

He emphasised the therapeutic benefits of gardening and said it will also provide free produce for the hostel canteen.

Mr Sutton said: “This project demonstrates we are serious about moving away from being seen as a ‘doss house’ but will work with homeless to address the causation.

“This kitchen garden is a splendid addition to the St Paul’s ‘toolbox’ that is now available to the beneficiaries and staff.

“I would like to thank the building block at Worcester Community Trust for providing the training and to Christian Dowle who provided the inspiration.”

Worcester Community Trust gave boots, vests, hard hats, gloves, goggles and health and safety training to the volunteers involved in the project.

The kitchen garden will eventually become a mini orchard of fruit trees and vegetables.

Ginette Sadler, practice manager at St Paul’s Hostel, added: “We have now improved the outside spaces, starting with our therapeutic garden last summer and now this new space.

“Once the weather warms up, we will be planting seedlings to harvest later in the year."

Kieran and Paul, two beneficiaries of the hostel, said: “We enjoyed helping with construction, using skills we already have or learning new ones.

“We all worked very hard and finished the project in one week - not the two that we thought”.

The hostel found that residents had a high number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) - such as abuse or violence - in a study carried out between December and January.

Construction work on the garden started on March 21 and ended on March 28.