OPP OF THE DAY: Team Challenge projects for groups or businesses, Jasmine Road Community Gardens

Jasmine Road Community Gardens is based in Kates Hill, Dudley. Volunteers developed a derelict, problem piece of land (about an acre in size) back into constructive use, creating high quality growing spaces and disabled access about 20 years ago. This project was then called Hillside Herbs and was managed by St Thomas’s Network. It was closed in 2014 but a group of people came together determined that the project should not be lost entirely and formed Jasmine Road Community Gardens. The aim of the Charity; Jasmine Road Community Gardens, is to manage the site and to give people a love of growing things and support them to have a healthy lifestyle; something that cuts across all cultural barriers. Volunteers will learn new skills which may help them secure employment.

About our organisation
We are a community garden run by volunteers who provide growing spaces for individuals and a collective group of volunteers, some of whom have physical and learning difficulties. We have charitable status. We share decision-making, learning experiences, money-making activities, celebrations and produce. We do not employ any staff but have support for people with disabilities.
Within the gardens there are three poly-tunnels (2 with raised beds), outdoor plots for growing our own plants and vegetables and community growing spaces for members of the community. Two local Primary Schools have plots on site and children come up as part of their school day to learn to grow things. The main aims are to bring the community together, to work on projects, to have fun and to enable people to learn how to grow their own plants and vegetables. We organise events throughout the year e.g. Science Day, Plant sales, an Arts Festival and a Christmas Fayre to encourage new people to come along and get to know us.

Summary of the project
Our aims are:
• To promote health and well-being to all the residents of the area regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnic origin, ability, belief or political affiliation.
• To promote vegetable growing skills on and off site, the benefits of growing your own food and to sell our vegetables to the local community.
• To promote environmental awareness and wildlife conservation.
• To promote personal and group projects which may not all be directly connected to growing and/or food; through these members will find health and meaning.
Together we learn experientially about (and celebrate) healthy living and eating. We develop our own horticultural and dietary knowledge and skills, and promote these within the wider local community. The food we grow aims to directly reduce the financial hardship of some members.

We promote wildlife through the development of our wildlife areas and through our organic growing methods. These are used in educational activities with children and adults. We now have chickens and ducks! We encourage the up-cycling of re-useable materials and composting. The garden aims to be a place where people can escape loneliness, get mental and physical exercise in the fresh air, and find purpose in their lives.

Any new people joining us must be aware that we are all volunteers. We do have policies in place for Health and Safety and Safeguarding but we are all working ‘on a level playing field.’ We do not accept bad behaviour or language, discrimination, racism or intolerance of any kind.

Our community growing spaces and projects are open to volunteers on Mondays and Thursdays. There are craft classes on other days and there are usually people working in the gardens at weekends.

Our Role

Team Challenge projects for groups or businesses
We are very eager to have people to help with some bigger tasks which would work well for these sorts of things. We’ve got our pond project where our current pond needs re-digging out and lining and then wetland plants being put all around it to turn it into a proper habitat; our Children’s area needs renovating which includes a Wendy house, play areas and hopefully a big basket swing which will need putting up; our glade area also needs renovating with trees needing to be both dug up and replanting. There’s a couple of other projects which are more heavy work too, such as digging out our big raised beds so we can turn it into a craft area, which would be better for bigger groups or people who really want to get their hands dirty.

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY please contact:

Kayleigh Mills

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