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