Pitch For Your Project Case study #10

Growing Space

For the final day we thought we would share with you a group that were successful in March 2019 so you can see how projects are getting on a year after being awarded funding. Growing Space Branches is a community garden project that was established three years ago based in Mardy Resource Centre. Here at MHA, we are exceptionally proud to be associated with this Growing Spaces Branches. The impact that it had had on all community members has been more than positive and a real success story.

The main purpose of the group is to combat loneliness and isolation within the community and providing meaningful activity and training that benefit all. The ages of the participants range from 5-94 which enforces that it is a whole community approach. The group have worked exceptionally hard to be inclusive of all and have overcome many barriers such as funding, access for people with different levels of mobility and people with varying mental health needs. The group have tackled all of this with the fantastic support of Jim, the project lead, and have democratised Mardy Park eliminating any issues with access. It is now accessible to all community members regardless of any mobility issues. The work carried out has not just been focused on access to the building, but also thwe gardening space. Polytunnels have been specifically designed for wheelchairs so everyone can get involved in the gardening. This gives all members of the community a sense of purpose rather than just tokenistic activities.

A portion of the residents that attend the project have varying mental health needs but this is managed in such a positive way that all stigma is removed and no one is judged. Anxieties are reduced for the time that residents are involved in activity and they are constantly improving their social skills and enhancing their well-being. The group have more than come together as a whole community approach: improving communications, social skills, sense of belonging and a providing safe place for members of the community to be themselves.

Another positive of the project is that a wide range of other community groups can and do access the project. In the last 12 months the project has assisted Women's Aid, a local dementia group and a specialist brain injury unit who refer many patients to the. The garden provides a safe space for all of the groups where they are able to sit and enjoy the beautiful gardens that have all been planted and nurtured for by participants of the project.

They also benefit the wider community by donating their vegetables a local cooking course for residents working to improve their cooking skills.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this project has shown a long-standing commitment to improving the wellbeing of the residents within their local community and should be celebrated for the achievements that they have made.

Quote from Mo Jackson – Tenant

From the first day I went along to Growing Space project I was made to feel welcome and at ease. One of the things that I like about this group are there are no egos and everyone just gets along. I have been provided with numerous opportunities to improve my gardening skills and made lots of new friends. It has also been a positive experience from me to befriend people of diffent abilities, to work alongside them and watch their self-confidence grow. Thank You to Monmouthshire Housing for helping to fund the project and thank you to everyone at Growing Space for making me feel very welcome.

Quote From Jim – Project Lead

I would like to Thank Monmouthshire Housing for seeing our potential and helping our project grow. Your support over the last year has been appreciated by not only us as an organisation but all the community members that attend.

In order to keep everyone safe the Garden is currently closed but we will post on our social media pages when it reopens and Jim and the other community members will welcome anyone regardless of gardening ability. Go along and join in with the gardening or just sit and enjoy the beautiful views. One visit will never be enough and we guarantee you will become a regular welcomed visitor.

If you think you have the passion and drive to bring your community together through Gardening or any other incentive then please get in touch with Clare on 01495 745749 or clare.evans@monmouthshirehousing.co.uk