Love for gardening brings community together 

3rd February 2022

A community garden can offer people a place to relax, a way to engage with nature, meet others and get active outdoors.

Lovers Lane Community Garden is run by a group of 25 volunteers and encourages the local community to grow their own food, socialise and keep healthy.

The garden not only provides a place for vital habitats such as insects and birds but it also provides a sanctuary for its community. It is a safe place to meet new friends, get fresh air, exercise and grow fruit and vegetables, which is good for people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

During the pandemic, more than half of the volunteers were shielding and the group needed to recruit younger members. £2,600 from the William Milburn Charitable Trust Community First Fund was used to improve equipment and make the facilities more welcoming.

Heather Tipler, Trustee, said: “The new shed is wonderful and means we have organised all our tools and equipment and there is space to sit indoors if people need a rest. We have a new notice board so can communicate better, and the wire and brassica mesh and frames meant has improved the look of the garden while keeping plants were safe from pests. We can water easily with the new sprinklers and in response to COVID-19, each member now has their own gloves rather than sharing.”

Some of its members have no outside space and so the community garden is not only a place to get outdoors, but also sociable and offers healthy activities. One lady, who attends with her carer, said it feels it has given her purpose and she enjoys meeting new people.

Another member, who recently moved to the area was unable to work due to illness. As a self-employed gardener, he was able to volunteer at the community garden while he recovered. He has also supported two other men who have mental or physical issues. He continues to volunteer but has since returned to work and believes his involvement in the garden contributed to this outcome.

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