Set up a community gar­den

Accrington Observer - - LEISURE -

AS ur­ban ar­eas in­crease, so does the need for community gar­dens.

Over the next 12 months, or­ganic drinks brand Hon­est and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­gen­er­a­tion char­ity Ground­work.org.uk will be work­ing to­gether to bring more green spa­ces and gar­dens to Bri­tain’s ur­ban sprawls.

Ground­work community gar­dener Sean Gif­ford helps lo­cal groups set up community gar­dens in a range of ar­eas from hous­ing es­tates to dis­used car parks. He takes th­ese groups through the process, from de­sign to plant selec­tion.

Ben Coles, Ground­work direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ties and en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices, of­fers the fol­low­ing ad­vice to get a community gar­den started:

Build mo­men­tum be­hind the idea

Find out how many peo­ple are in­ter­ested in it – the more mo­men­tum from lo­cals who are keen to do it, the more voices you have to be heard. Or­gan­ise a meet­ing with neigh­bours to see how it could be taken for­ward.

Check space avail­abil­ity

Find a spot you think would be suit­able. Speak to your lo­cal author­ity part­ner or landown­ers or who­ever is re­spon­si­ble for the land. Con­tact your hous­ing depart­ment, land­lord or hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion.

Con­sider fund­ing Some­times coun­cils will re­fer you to an or­gan­i­sa­tion that can help, other times the res­i­dents will find their own spon­sor­ship.

This might come through lo­cal busi­nesses, a char­ity, or with guid­ance through or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Fed­er­a­tion of Community Farms and City Gar­dens (far­m­gar­den.org.uk).

Mov­ing for­ward “We would look at the needs, from de­sign­ing and con­struct­ing a grow­ing space to pro­vid­ing peo­ple like Sean to help the groups get up and run­ning, and to recog­nise that some of them don’t know a lot about what they can grow and how they would look af­ter it. It’s al­ways a tai­lored re­sponse,” says Ben.

It may not be easy Ken Elkes, spokesman for the Fed­er­a­tion of Community Farms and City Gar­dens, says: “The bot­tom line is that most groups run on a shoe­string and find it dif­fi­cult to get enough in­come to sus­tain and ex­pand their community gar­dens. There’s a lot less fund­ing around than there used to be... but there are ways of start­ing up and sus­tain­ing a community gar­den.

“Most don’t need a huge amount of money. Most peo­ple start out as a group who come to­gether and do every­thing on a vol­un­tary ba­sis.

“We can give ad­vice on fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and re­sources, act­ing as a con­duit be­tween the mem­bers and cor­po­rate spon­sors.”

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