A community based grow-your-own vegetable project has recently travelled to a village in North Dorset to help local residents to enjoy where they live, following its success on the Isle of Wight.
Spectrum Housing Group’s Growing Spaces scheme provides a raised bed and vegetable plants to households in targeted areas. The National Lottery’s Local Food initiative has provided funding for the project for the past five years, which since 2008 has installed over 500 raised beds in neighbourhoods all across the Isle of Wight.
With the project moving in-land, residents of Hod View, a small estate of 64 properties in the village of Stourpaine, North Dorset, were the first to take up the offer of raised planters for their gardens, enabling them to grow their own vegetables.
“We offered the project to everyone on the street, and so far 18 households have taken part” said Tim Crawshaw, Community Investment Officer at Spectrum Housing Group, who assisted green-fingered residents at Hod View alongside Spectrum’s Liz Baker (Resident Involvement Officer) and Kerry Harvey (Neighbourhood Housing Officer).
“Of the households taking part, some residents were already experienced gardeners whilst others, especially the younger residents, were picking up trowels for the first time” adds Tim. “The plant and seed drop session was a great success, giving residents everything they needed to get started with their raised bed”.
The Landscape Group, Spectrum’s contactors who deliver the grounds maintenance service, first installed the raised planters, and then Spectrum’s officers spent time on the estate handing out plants, seeds and tools to enthusiastic gardeners. The residents at Hod View now have all they need to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs for the kitchen.
“Everyone is pleased with their raised beds and the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables; especially those who had never done this before” adds Tim.
“We will visit participants during the summer to see how they are doing and to offer advice wherever required, and will be taking the project to Ten Acres in Shaftesbury shortly too.
We are also planning a small harvest event to celebrate growing achievements in September, where growers can display their success and perhaps learn a new recipe or two in our country kitchen”.
To find out more about the Growing Spaces project, visit: www.growing-spaces.co.uk.