Greening Project from Family Mosaic
Greening Communities is one of our leading social inclusion initiatives.
It supports residents to turn under-used outside shared areas into ‘green’ and sustainable places which can be enjoyed by everyone. The project enables communities to work together to make their neighbourhood a better place to live in, and has even helped some residents gain horticultural qualifications.
Successful projects have included growing flowers and vegetables, erecting an awning so residents can enjoy sitting outdoors, building bespoke wheelchair accessible raised beds for growing vegetables, organising trips to the garden centre to choose plants, and one group even enjoyed sanding down and re-painting garden furniture.
Each project is chosen by residents themselves, who decide what needs to be done and how often they want to get involved in the project.
Who was involved? Emma Reeves, Greening Communities Project Worker and Catley Court Gardening Group
Description: Catley Court, a sheltered housing scheme in Bexhill, first contacted the Greening Communities Team because they wanted to grow their own vegetables.
Following an initial meeting with the Greening Communities Project Worker, the residents chose to build some raised beds, to enable everyone who wanted to, to be able to get involved in the gardening project, and submitted a bid for funding from Family Mosaic.
Once the residents had chosen where they wanted to build the raised beds, the Greening Communities Project Worker liaised with the Landlord and supported the residents to build the beds, decide what to grow and share out the responsibilities for weeding, watering and caring for the growing area. Progress was recorded in a scheme photograph album that was kept in the communal lounge for everyone to share and enjoy.
The Greening Communities Project Worker met with the newly formed gardening group regularly to see how they were doing and offer advice and support as required.
Residents were aware that the Greening Communities funding was time limited, and decided to make the project more sustainable by paying regular money into a gardening pot themselves, from which they have since purchased some fruit trees for the communal gardens.
Time frame: March 2012 – present
How this resulted in improved outcomes for the service itself?
The Catley Court Gardening project has reduced social isolation and improved the health and wellbeing of residents who got involved, as well as enhancing the communal garden space. One resident who joined the gardening group soon after moving to Catley Court reported that the scheme helped her to make new friends.
This project has enabled Family Mosaic to evidence how the service is meeting its outcomes, including individual outcomes such as ‘enjoying and achieving’, ‘making a positive contribution to the community’ and ‘better managing their physical health and emotional wellbeing’. It has also demonstrated the benefits of providing truly personalised services, where residents can make choices and have a voice in decisions that affect them and where they live.
What challenges did the organisation face? How were these resolved?
The greatest challenge we faced in this project, was supporting residents to share their ideas and reach a consensus, when there were conflicting views.
For example the gardening group decided to grow runner beans in an area of the garden which had previously been used for ornamental plants. Some residents complained because they wanted vegetables to be kept out of the ornamental area.
The Greening Communities Project Worker suggested that all residents should be consulted regarding changes to the garden, regardless of whether or not they were involved in the gardening group. As a result, residents decided to put up posters on the noticeboards giving everyone a chance to comment, which solved the problem and made everyone feel that they were being listened to
Contact person: Emma Reeves