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Our community garden groups have over the years transformed three disused allotments into a thriving organic wildlife garden with wheelchair access paths, beds and an activity shed. The Men’s Shed project makes a huge contribution to the garden, by building pond covers, labels and bird boxes as well as creating beautiful rural crafts to sell. The men who attend can have complex wellbeing issues and are often hard to reach, but the constructive input that they make to the garden and market sales enables them to access the service without reluctance, learning and sharing skills and increasing self esteem. Petworth Community Garden projects reach over 100 people annually and we have recently been able to extend our activity shed with help from WSCC volunteer task force. Our Men's Shed group want to help to refit and transform the old kitchen area to be used by all our groups for teas and lunches, learning to cook healthy meals from the harvest and preparing our jams and chutney range.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
This is a great idea because we want to maximise the huge potential our garden has to offer and build on the success we have already had in transforming the local environment and the lives of all who engage and volunteer with us. Petworth Community Garden runs many projects for low income locals including 'Learn and Grow' gardening, 'Chutneys for Change' jam enterprise, 'Plot to Plate' cooking, 'Thriving Thursday' therapeutic horticulture and our Men’s Shed Crafty Men' project. We are signposted to by many organisations including the social prescribing team from the doctors surgery and the benefits of community gardening are widely recognised. ‘We are so proud to have been involved with PCG since 2009 ...it is wonderful to see the garden flourish to the thriving, popular CIC that it has become... they are a fantastic example of the social and health benefits of gardening together.’ A kitchen on site will support and transform all the projects, enabling us to maximise our reach.
Steps to get it done:
Following the local social services day provision closure we experienced an increase in vulnerable men coming to the project, with complex wellbeing issues such as isolation, loneliness and depression, also people recovering from strokes, people with learning or physical disabilities and those dealing with a life change such as retirement or bereavement. These men can feel social isolation and marginalisation particularly acutely due a reluctance of being seen as ‘in need’ of help or charity; traditionally it can be challenging to engage men in community support activities. We recognise each individual’s practical and creative abilities and nurture these, engaging men in a way that they are comfortable with and building upon their existing skills to enhance their confidence and wellbeing, and to put pathways in place to improve their lives. The Men's Shed group have offered to use their joint skills to transform the old unfit kitchen area for the benefit of all the garden projects.
About the space
Petworth Community Garden is situated alongside a housing estate on Martlet road in Petworth. Although often seen as a wealthy town, Petworth has areas of rural deprivation according to the IMD, particularly around these estates. PCG provides much needed projects for low income residents in the heart of this community.
Chichester District Council
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