HCGA launches new Grow Well project

On Friday 14th September the Mayor Councillor Belinda Donovan attended the glasshouses in Ravenscourt Park for the launch of ‘Grow Well’ an exciting new programme run by Hammersmith Community Gardens Association.

Grow Well is made up of two new gardening volunteering programmes: one is aimed at people who initially need a bit of extra support to increase their confidence and hopefully leading to participate in our regular volunteering sessions; and one for carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities as well as learning new skills and trying new activities.

Through our 12 week programme (one half day session per week) volunteers are able to try a range of practical gardening activities.

Activities will include: growing, harvesting and cooking fruit and veg, learning about the medicinal properties of plants, environmental arts projects, seasonal activities, trips and outings to places of horticultural interest, visits to local community gardens, wildlife conservation activities.

A number of our existing volunteers also attend the sessions in the role of peer mentors and this allows new volunteers to undertake activities at their own pace. At the end of the programme volunteers have an individual review and are signposted on to other suitable sessions within the organisation or externally.

Susan, a current HCGA volunteer who is also a carer says of her volunteering experience:

‘I have been gardening with HCGA for 3 years now. I really enjoy coming to the glasshouses in Ravenscourt Park. It gives me space to clear my head and I have made new friends and learnt more about gardening.

Katie Shaw Operations manager at HCGA said ‘We have identified the need for this programme from the increasing number of referrals and requests we are getting for volunteering from other organisations. We are aware that carers are often isolated and Grow Well will provide them with opportunity to do something for themselves and the therapeutic benefits of gardening are well documented.’

This programme will initially run for 2 years and is supported by the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales.

Local organisations and individuals interested in the programme should contact katiehcga@gmail.com.  The first 12 weeks will begin on 28th September 2012.

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