We once again held the annual Potato Day and another very successful day it proved, helped by bright sunshine on a cool February day, raising over £300 for our charity.
250 people came on the day and purchased their seed potatoes, onion sets, jacket potatoes and homemade cakes. The children enjoyed visiting the chickens, potato printing and exploring the Growing Together garden. South East Essex Organic Gardeners organised the day in partnership with Trust Links.
Green fingered members at our garden in Westcliff have good cause to celebrate. They have successfully completed a qualification in Horticulture and the Mayor of Southend, councillor Chris Walker, visited the garden to present them with their certificates.
Ten members of the Growing Together garden sites in Fairfax Drive and Shoeburyness undertook the year long course, in which a tutor from Southend Adult Community College worked with them at the garden on practical and written tasks. Having completed the course, the members have been awarded a Level 1 diploma in Horticulture.
“The members who completed the course have all experienced mental health problems so achieving the qualification is a very positive step for them. This qualification has not only helped with horticultural knowledge, but has built the confidence and self esteem of those that have completed it.” said Matt King, Chief Executive.
Trust Links is offering another Level 1 Horticulture course at its Shoeburyness site in Elm Road during the course of 2015. The free course requires a commitment of two days a week, one day training and one day practical work in the garden. It begins after Easter. For more details, contact the Trust Links office on 01702 213134 or email email@example.com.
Trust Links has reason to celebrate too as it has just been awarded a PQASSO Level 1 accreditation which is endorsed by the Charities Commission. The PQASSO quality mark is only awarded after rigorous external assessment. It indicates that an organisation is run as effectively and efficiently within its resources and has the best possible outcomes for staff and users.
Peter Payne, Chair of Trust Links Board, said “All staff and volunteers have worked hard to achieve the PQASSO accreditation, which demonstrates the effectiveness, quality and credibility of Trust Links.”
During the day Dom and James met the members, staff and volunteers at Growing Together to hear their stories and find out how their lives had been improved by their time at the project. Matt King, Chief Executive of Trust Links said: “It was great to have James Martin, Dom Littlewood and the film crew with us for the day at Growing Together. They enjoyed looking around the garden and the Afternoon Tea was wonderful, thanks to the hard work of our members and volunteers. James even gave us cooking tips on the vegetables we grow at the community garden and our members enjoyed posing for photos with Dom. We look forward to watching the programme on BBC One.” In the brand new series, Operation Meet The Street, James Martin spearheads a nationwide campaign designed to bring communities together and tackle the growing issue of loneliness in the UK. James invites five celebrities to go back to the street they grew up on to find out who lives there now and help them set up a real social network. As well as Dom Littlewood in Southend, other celebrities will be Alex Jones (The One Show) Dave Myers (Hairy Bikers), Helen Skelton (Holiday Hit Squad, Blue Peter) and Denise Lewis OBE (Olympic Gold medallist). Operation Meet The Streets begins on BBC One on Monday 15th December at 9:15am and the Growing Together garden will be seen in the episode on Wednesday 17th December.
Growing Together was full of Christmas cheer on Saturday 17th November at our Christmas Open Day. More than 150 people came to the gardens and enjoyed meeting Father Christmas and Mother Christmas, joining in with carols and buying crafts, vegetables and honey. Volunteers helped serve homemade mince pies, turkey rolls and vegetable soup. The sun came out and visitors enjoyed looking around the garden and meeting the chickens. The Open Day made more than £750, which is a record for a Growing Together event. Growing Together provides positive activities for adults with mental health problems and learning disabilities. Christmas is a difficult time for many people – Growing Together brings people together in a supportive and nurturing environment. Members have enjoyed making wreaths and decorating the site.
This is the first wedding amongst its members and so it was only fitting that the venue for the reception was the very garden where Tracy and Steve met. Fellow members organised the catering and arranged the flowers for the happy couple who now look forward to growing together.
Southend Apple Day at St Laurence Orchard was really successful, with 150 people attending, lots of activities and the sun was out most of the day! There were 50 different varieties of apples for people to taste, juicing, children’s craft and a good chance to explore the orchard.
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We have a shop selling produce & goods
Vegetables that we sell, fresh from our plot, this year include broad beans, beetroot, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, leeks, runner and French beans, courgettes, chard, spinach, tomatoes, cabbages, kale and broccoli.
Opening hours of gardens and sales are Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
Please come and say hello and support us by making a purchase!
MAY FAYRE- Saturday 16th May, 11am - 2pm @ Fairfax Drive, Westcliff
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