Taking Root is taking off.
Building our environmental ecosystem, we are now working with three new groups on setting up their community gardens, expanding our network as they will hopefully join our existing seven very active community gardens across south Sefton.
Taking Root in Bootle aims to develop the level of collaboration between communities linking community gardens and growing, food and health projects, so we are looking at ways to connect to our local food projects such as the creative cooking experiences being delivered by St Leonard’s Youth and Community Centre. As we scale up our community growing, our plan is to be able to offer surplus fresh fruit and vegetable to our local community chefs, so that everyone gets the chance to try new things.
We are also pleased to announce that we are now part of the Food Power Network, which aims to strengthen local communities’ ability to reduce food poverty through solutions developed with the support of their peers from other communities across the UK. We look forward to sharing good practice by being part of this alliance, and we’re hoping to organise some visits for our volunteers to meet other inspiring projects and exchange ideas and learning.
As our Taking Root Network is growing from strength to strength, we thought it was time to create our own identity. We are pleased to share our new logo and invite you to follow us on Twitter at @TakingRoot3.
Regenerus was awarded an Awards for All grant of £9,985 from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver horticultural volunteering and accredited training activities to members of the local community.
Adding to the inspiring activities of the Taking Root Network, the project began in December 2016, with a focus on planning and development in preparation for the growing season.
Over summer 2017, 26 local people signed up to get active and learn new skills, working together to establish community gardens and grow fruit and vegetables. Demonstrating that community growing can be fun for everyone, our volunteers’ ages ranged from 10 to 66.
Changing the way we think about our food, and growing your own vegetables, offers a real sense of achievement and pride, and helps us understand how our food gets to our plates.
As one young volunteer told us, they hadn’t realised you grow carrots from seeds!
Working in partnership with Lotus Brook, the Feelgood Factory in Netherton, Netherton Park Neighbourhood Centre and the Gateway Collective , the volunteers gained accreditation for their new skills through Open Awards.
Christine Leung of Lotus Brook, our Taking Root Co-ordinator, said how much she enjoyed working with our volunteers and gave us just one example of how the project has made a difference to people’s lives: “It’s been interesting how different each cohort has been learning as their group dynamics and sites are very different. Some young people don’t get many opportunities to work in gardens so it was great to see one teenager helping others with their practical task after I demonstrated container planting with the group.
“His youth workers had not seen him do this before so were pleasantly surprised. We then explored other ways in which we could continue to engage him in environmental work.”
As our volunteers learned new skills, got to know each other, made new friends and became very active in their community gardens, we were very pleased that the Taking Root Project was clearly achieving its aims of reducing isolation, increasing confidence and improving health and wellbeing.
Video: Taking Root Project graduation event