Regenerus have been 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 the Summer, 26 local people have signed up to get active and learn new skills, working together to establish community gardens, growing fruit and vegetables. Demonstrating that community growing can be fun for everyone, our volunteers’ ages range 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 will gain accreditation for their new skills through Open Awards.
Christine Leung of Lotus Brook, our Taking Root Co-ordinator, said how much she is enjoying working with our volunteers and gave us just one example of how the project is making 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 are now exploring ways in which we can continue to engage him in environmental work, which will also hopefully keep him out of trouble.”
As our volunteers learn new skills, get to know each other, make new friends and get active in their community gardens, we are pleased that the Taking Root Project is achieving its aims of reducing isolation, increasing confidence and improving health and wellbeing.
Video: Taking Root Project graduation event