A DISABLED gardener says more people could enjoy the pleasure of plants with just small adaptations to allotment plots.

Michelle Bailey, 30, took on a plot at Cowmead Allotments off Abingdon Road, Oxford, recently, but her disability makes it a difficult pastime to keep up.

Now local businesses are supporting an appeal to raise £3,000 for adaptations such as improved paths and raised beds to allow her to continue enjoying her gardening.

She said: “It means a lot to me that they are making these improvements. I think gardening can help those who are disabled, and it would be good to see some more plots which are easy to access.

“I have got to be able to do it within my wheelchair so I can’t use a plot without a raised bed.

“My plot is great to get to and I have got beetroot, cauliflower, curly kale and lettuce. I enjoy it. It is kind of like a therapy and it relaxes me. I like getting the vegetables, but I particularly like weeding.”

Jewson Skoda, the car dealership based across Abingdon Road from the allotments, has donated £200 to help pay for the improvements.

Corporate and retail sales manager Stuart Rolfe said: “It is used by local people and it is about as local to us as you can get. They came to us and we felt it was something we were interested in.”

Allotments secretary Jayne Madden said: “All the local shops have been marvellous.

“We are getting the community involved.

“We are trying to make sure that people with disabilities do not get left out.

“Michelle really enjoys using her plot. We have had some raised beds put in and we want barriers, a concrete path and more raised beds to make it easier for her in her wheelchair.”

Miss Bailey, who lives in Edith Road, Grandpont, was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome when she was 18 and has had to use a wheelchair permanently for the past 11 years.

CRPS is a condition which causes severe and continuous pain in a limb. It also often causes the skin in the affected area to become very sensitive.

Miss Bailey said: “It makes life very hard. Pain is constant and without physio exercises I can’t get up in the morning.”