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Charnwood Gardening Project

Compost Corner - January 2011

Compost Corner - August 2010

COMPOST CORNER – The periodic newsletter of Charnwood Garden Project

Late Summer Edition

Dear Readers,

My apologies for taking so long to write again and update you on the happenings on the Garden Project. I know that you will understand how busy we have been through the summer, finishing off improvements to the site and keeping up with all of the gardening tasks. Some of the following will seem like ancient history but please read on for a recap of our achievements so far this year and our plans for the next.


Open Day – June 15th. We were very fortunate with the weather and had a really brilliant turn out on the day- our best ever. Along with the mayor, who cut the ribbon on our new accessible garden, we welcomed representatives of our sponsoring businesses, volunteers, students past and present and many friends new and old. With some vigorous selling of raffle tickets and produce by Matt, Ted and others, the organised refreshments run by Trish, and the generosity of visitors, we raised the fabulous sum of £347. In addition, Neil Clarke from the Royal Bank of Scotland gave us a cheque for £175 as a result of him selling bedding plants to fellow employees.

Those of you who came on the day will remember that although full of water, the new raised pond was bereft of life. Soon after the open day, using the money given us by RBS employees, we installed a solar fountain, plants, fish and fresh water muscles. Everything is establishing well and the fish have lost their shyness and are very visible much to the delight of all our volunteers.

Loughborough in Bloom – Three weeks after the open day, we were visited briefly by the judges of the ‘In Bloom’ competition. We did our best to contribute favourably to the overall impression made by the town. The result will be announced on September 15th.

Two weeks later, we were judged individually for the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ section of ‘In Bloom’. On this occasion, a Royal Horticultural Society appointed judge spent about an hour on the Project marking us on community involvement, care for the environment, and plant choice and care. We will learn the outcome on October 1st when we will receive a certificate attesting to the level of achievement we have attained as an individual project.

On July 9th, I attended the 3M/Loughborough Echo Awards dinner. Although we did not receive an award, we were given a welcome £100 towards our work.

The plant sales that I attended on behalf of the Project in Syston (2 days), Wymeswold Open Gardens (2 days) and Anne Waterfall’s beautiful garden at Ridgewold Farm (1 day and 1 evening) enabled me to raise a further £440.

Another donation has been received from RBS, this time for £200 from the Docs Charity Fund. In July, we also received £250 from the Charities Trust, Community Cash Back as a result of Neil Clarke’s application on our behalf. Since October 2009, Neil has been responsible for raising a total of £745 for us. Incredible!


Ted Boyd, who helped out so much running up to the open day is now a registered volunteer and also officially fills in for me when I’m on holiday. Welcome, too to Daniel Bower.

On Site Developments
Since completion of the accessible area we have been concentrating on gardening but we do have further plans. We already have a number of donated slabs that will provide the beginnings of a path down the length of the site. This will enable wheelchair users to reach our nature pond and the herb garden under the oak tree. Work on the new path will start when the autumn garden clear up is finished.

We have placed an order for a new polytunnel and expect delivery in October. This new model will have optional side ventilation and will replace our current tunnel that is full of holes and not expected to last the winter.

I have recently visited allotments in Leicester that have solar and wind power and use composting toilets. I am now making enquiries into the cost of installing a composting toilet with disabled access, replacing our current single size chemical portaloo. This would be a significant improvement on the environmental front. I will also be getting a quote for the installation of two solar panels that would generate enough electricity to power two lights in the shed and a laptop and projector. These would greatly improve our teaching sessions. Finding funding would be the next task!

Lastly, inspired by a garden judged ‘Best in Show’ at Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC this year, we are planning a Stick Garden as our showpiece for 2011. We have started work on this project already with the ordering of wood, bulbs, plants and seeds. To find our what it’s all about, how about visiting us? This project will involve all of the groups that use the site and any visitors we can collar! We plan to start it off with a mass bulb planting in the autumn so look out for notices in John Storer House. Join in and then see the full result at our Open Day 2011.

Advance Notice

The Project will be closed Monday and Tuesday, August 30th and 31st.

RNIB work experience resumes in September.

The Well-being Group (Gardening for Health and Well-being) starts on October 1st 12.45pm to 3.45pm NOTE NEW TIMES

Open College Network course for learning disabled begins Feb.21st, 2011 10am to 1pm NOTE NEW TIMES

‘Thank yous’

Theobalds Timber who has agreed to sponsor the Stick Garden planned for 2011 by donating the timber we need. They are also supplying fence and trellis panels at advantageous rates.

Again to Neil Clarke, Lynn Whitworth, Sam, Ted Boyd, Andy Bartlett, students from Loughborough Uni A Team, and the ladies and gents from RBS for all the many and varied work they have done (some giving up their bank holiday to help).

All of the lovely people, many anonymous, who have donated plants, seeds, pots, hanging baskets, containers of all sorts and paint.

As usual, I attach our current ‘Wish List’.

Many thanks for your continued support. We just wouldn’t be able to accomplish as much as we do without it.

Bobby and all the Garden Gang

Wish List

PAINT – Particularly outdoors paint in red, yellow, blue and green

Yacht varnish and brushes.

Large plant pots, especially 1, 2 and 3 litre sizes

Anyone with fundraising experience or willing to have a go helping out with this work.

Donations of plants (house or garden) and TIME. Both are equally welcome!

That’s all for this edition. Do please get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or questions, or to volunteer some help.

Contact me on 01509 631774 or email me bobby.smith@voluntaryactioncharnwood.org.uk

Charnwood Garden Project
John Storer House
Wards End
Loughborough, LE11 3HA

Compost Corner - May 2010

Latest News From The Allotments - December 2009

After some delays, we are now making very good progress on the project to provide wheelchair access to a section of the Garden Project. Local firms and volunteers have been very helpful and the initial groundwork has been completed. We hope to see fairly rapid results in the New Year.

Other improvements have included the erection of a secure metal store for our tools, saving time and money on transporting these to and from the Project each day. We have also replaced an untidy herbaceous border for a new, dwarf box hedge.

We are now looking forward to a re-launch of the new-look Project in 2010. The spring will see us putting our new facilities to good use, raising plants for the new area as well as for JSH’s entry in the Loughborough in Bloom competition and welcoming new service users to the Project.

Bobby Smith

Compost Corner - Periodic Newsletter of Charnwood Garden Project (October 2009)

Hello again,

Welcome to the autumn edition.

Student Placements

We were delighted when Hannah Baker joined us on September 28th. Hannah is a third year occupational therapy student from Coventry University and will be on placement with us for a total of 12 weeks. Hannah will be working with the groups as a whole but will also work with individuals with whom she has identified specific support needs.

We are also pleased to have Kieran Phillips from Burleigh Community College lending us a hand on an extended placement. Kieran will be with us at least until the end of this term.


The very successful Well-being group began the term on The 25th of September. Most of last year’s learners are back and we have a number of new faces.

The RNIB learners returned on the !4th of September. Currently it is a small group but the numbers will increase after half term.

The Open College Network (OCN) course funded through Longslade College will run from the 22nd of February 2010. This will be for 15 weeks at 4 hours per week on Mondays. For details, contact Longslade Community College. This course is free.

I act as tutor to all of these groups.

On September the 29th, the Carers’ Project hosted a conference at Mountfields Lodge. During the afternoon, a walking tour was made to the Project and we were delighted to receive favourable comments from the visitors who included local MP, Andy Reed.

On October 9th, the day before World Mental Health Day, the Well-being Group manned an information stall at John Storer House. In addition, hardy plants from the Project, houseplants, books, DVDs etc were sold and over £40 was raised for the Project. Thank you to all who supported the event and a special thank you to Bill’s wife who continues to supply us with lovely houseplants.

On Site Developments

After a summer break, the volunteers from the Royal Bank of Scotland are back with us. The old polytunnel is gone and what will become the wheelchair accessible site is now levelled. Special thanks are due to Neil Clarke and Lyn Whitworth for their help. Neil is again selling plants to his work colleagues to raise more of the money we need. Thanks to him, we now have enough money for the greenhouse.

I am canvassing local companies for help in supplying the materials we need to take the project forward. We have just received the very welcome news that Lafarge Aggregates are donating 25 tonnes of quarry scalpings with free delivery. Travis Perkins, Loughborough have been very helpful with weed suppressant matting.

The RBS volunteers are also planning to rebuild our compost bins while we await the other supplies.

We now have a secure storage unit on order, which will save time and money on transporting equipment to and from the Project gardens once it is in place.

Thanks and Congratulations

Thanks as ever to all our volunteers especially Trish, Helen and Paul.

You may of heard that the judges had some very complimentary things to say about the improvements made to the gardens at John Storer House for the ‘In Bloom’ competition this past summer. Congratulations are in order to members of the various groups at the Garden Project as well as to staff and other users of John Storer House who helped with planting and tending the beds. For those of you who didn’t see it, the back patio garden in particular was a picture.

As usual, I attach our current ‘Wish List’.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Bobby and all the Garden Gang

Wish List

Donations towards the new accessible area. We need to purchase railway sleepers, compost, planters, slabs and gravel.

Large plant pots, especially 2 and 3 litre sizes

Anyone with fundraising experience or willing to have a go helping out with this work.

Donations of plants (house or garden), manure and TIME. All are equally welcome!

If you have a spare piece of worktop, we very much need to replace the top of our tea-making cupboard in the shed. Size 23”x40” or 590mm x 1200mm

That’s all for this edition. Do please get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or questions, or to volunteer some help.

Contact me on 01509 631774 or email me

Charnwood Garden Project
John Storer House
Wards End
Loughborough, LE11 3HA

Excerpt from 2009 - 2010 Service Brochure

The Gardening Project offers social and therapeutic horticulture and training to a wide range of people for five days a week, 50 weeks of the year. Over 40 people, from all walks of life, attend the project each week. One of our aims is to break down social barriers by encouraging able volunteers to work alongside those with learning or physical disabilities, mental health problems or asylum seekers. Thereby encouraging recognition that everyone has something to offer and deserves to be a valued member of the community.

The Project works in partnership with a number of statutory, voluntary and educational bodies. For several years we have hosted social work degree student placements from de Montfort University. In 2008/9 we welcomed our first occupational therapy student from Coventry University. We also offer work experience placements usually for one or two 6th form students from local colleges (Burleigh and Rawlins).

New developments for 2008/9 are a longer-term arrangement with the RNIB College in Loughborough (expected to run in 2010) to provide work experience for up to six students with learning disabilities and/or visual impairment. Also Open College Network (OCN) accredited learning courses are now offered. Two courses have been run and are due to run again in 2010; one for students with disabilities funded by Longslade College, and one for people to improve mental well-being, funded by Rawlins.

For three days a week, funded by Leicestershire County Council Adult Social Care, groups of adults with learning disabilities attend therapeutic horticulture sessions. This group also provides assistance with garden maintenance to older and/or disabled residents in Charnwood.

The Project is currently working to develop a horticultural project to teach gardening skills to young refugees and asylum seekers to aid social integration whilst providing an opportunity to overcome the traumas of their past experiences.

The Project maintains its close relationship with Thrive, the national charity for social and therapeutic horticulture. We work with them at every opportunity to both improve the service we offer and to promote the benefits of the work we do. We are continuing to work towards improving access for all the Project gardens.

For further information please contact Bobby Smith on 01509 631774 or bobby.smith@voluntaryactioncharnwood.org.uk

Charnwood Gardening Project Open Day - 21 July 2009

Bobby Smith would like to extend everyone a warm welcome to the Open Day on Tuesday, 21 July 2009. The event will take place at Mountfield Allotments from 10.30 am - 2.30 pm and will act as a showcase for the project's volunteers and learners. There will be plants, cakes, books and bric a brac for sale. All donations welcome.