Taking Root had fantastic fun on Friday 27th April 2018 for Pay it Forward day as part of the Well Sefton partnership! Dedicated to creating a brighter Bootle, Well Sefton partners delivered a raft of activities to embrace the power of giving and to encourage the people of Bootle to spread the love among the community. Pay It Forward Day is a worldwide movement that promotes random acts of kindness with the idea that those who experience an act of kindness pass it on to others.
Well Sefton is a collaborative programme working to improve the health and wellbeing of the people living and working in Bootle by creating a vibrant and connected community, living in a more pleasant environment. The collaboration is made up of Regenerus, Safe Regeneration, Living Well Sefton (Sefton CVS) and YKids. Volunteers from YKids were at Bootle Market where they handed out vouchers for a free drink at the North Perk cafe, positivity pouches and offered free face painting.
Living Well Sefton, working with the Orrell Trust, Venus and the May Logan Centre, facilitated a whole range of activities to promote random acts of kindness, including making your own ‘message in a bottle’ so that people could pledge their random act of kindness and get a small decorative bottle to write a name tag of the person they plan to do a deed for. Children from Springwell Park School also taught older people at the Orrell Trust to play Bocca. SAFE Regeneration used Pay it Forward Day to build on its ‘Green Dream’ environmental work. The focus was on creating more habitats for local wildlife by distributing wildflower seeds to local community groups.
Groups of community gardeners from the Regenerus Taking Root in Bootle project created wooden planters to gift to passers-by and to residents around the local neighbourhood to brighten up the area. Our planters were a great example of our Pay it Forward journey, designed and made by the joinery team at Hugh Baird College, sprayed, lined and planted up by our volunteers, with plants contributed by St Leonard’s YCC and local business Tony Almond.
Not put off by the rain, Taking Root gifted 27 planters, with more to follow as our other community garden groups meet up in the days to come. Thanks to our community gardeners in South Park, North Park and Marian Way for getting involved and paying it forward! Matt Ashton, Well Sefton Lead and Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley, said: “Pay it Forward Day is an opportunity for the Bootle community to truly come together and make acts of kindness something that happens throughout the year.
The Well Sefton collaboration made a whole lot of exciting activities happen this year to engage the community and encourage the people of Bootle to pay it forward.”
We are an Echo Environment Awards 2018 finalist
We are excited to announce that Taking Root in Bootle has been selected as a finalist in the Environmental and Health Project Award category of the Echo Environment Awards 2018.
In 2017, supported by Awards for All and Well Sefton, we set out to test how interested our volunteers were in adding training to their community gardening time, so we designed a project to teach horticultural skills, and to support local people working together to maintain successful community gardens.
Working with local partners our Taking Root Co-ordinator and horticultural expert, Christine Leung of social enterprise Lotus Brook, supported participants to design and establish community gardens, growing fruit and vegetables, whilst collecting and recording their learning experiences in their workbooks.
26 volunteers aged 10 to 66 took part in our project, all eager to expand their knowledge. 18 volunteers successfully achieved the Open Awards entry level 2 horticulture accreditation, and are now keen to progress their horticulture education.
Community gardening improves the environment and promotes healthy eating. More than this though, connecting communities creates opportunities to make new friends, reducing isolation, increasing confidence and promoting positive mental health, whilst being active also improves wellbeing.
It’s great news that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for an Echo Environment Award 2018. Everyone in the team – Christine, our volunteers and our partners – worked hard together to make sure this was a fun and successful learning experience for all. It was a really rewarding experience and it’s fabulous that this has been recognised.
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