Our supported volunteering and training programme uses social and therapeutic horticulture to engage disabled and older people. We are grateful to St Andrew Holborn Charity for supporting the cost of our full-time manager for 6 months. We are delighted to announce that for the next 5 years our project will be supported by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of The City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates (1035628).”.
Participants are supported to develop gardening and horticultural skills across a number of areas they have an interest in. These include:
- growing food for their own consumption
- propagating plants from seeds and cuttings for sale
- maintaining growing spaces and herbaceous borders
- organising and / or participating in cultural food growing events
The practical gardening skills our volunteers learn, enable them to gain accredited certificates either for their own enjoyment or to help access further training. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) Unit Award Scheme has a number of units covering plant propagation, introduction to greenhouse management and vegetable growing etc. Volunteers are supported to select and complete the relevant units.
The majority of volunteers have either a learning disability or mental health issue and, in many cases, have become socially isolated as a result. We use gardening, particularly food growing, as a specific tool for engaging with disadvantaged groups. Gardening offers a form of gentle therapeutic exercise suitable for people of all abilities. For those with physical disabilities, we have ensured that our gardening space is accessible to people in wheel chairs. Our volunteers are directly supported both one to one and in groups by our Volunteer Manager. This close working arrangement provides the perfect opportunity for volunteers to discuss future planned projects, other interests and their own personal development. More practically, it enables volunteers to be involved in all aspects of the development of individual gardening and food growing projects.
For information on volunteering at the Calthorpe Community Garden contact :
Gaven Duffy : Volunteer Manager on 020 7837 8019