Connecting Communities

        Gardening became a passion for me years ago, but at times life got in the way. I had a small vegetable plot and I was really happy when I created a meal for friends from my garden. I loved the abundance of courgettes and I was excited to have sweetcorn, as well as lots of other things. It took plenty of care, though. Early each morning I weeded. Every evening, I watered and humanely removed slugs (flinging them over bramble bushes into a field).

        Gardening gives you hope, but sometimes when you've lost hope, you lose the will to garden. When I lost someone close to me, I felt low (understandably) and let down. I didn't have the energy to get up early. I left it too late to sow seeds, so I stopped gardening.

        When I returned to Coventry, a close friend introduced me to the community allotment garden where she volunteered. I wanted to reconnect with nature and get back into growing. It reminded me why I'd stopped, but there began a healing process, of finding my way back, as hope returned. Making a regular commitment motivated me and I looked forward to it. My gardening skills were rusty, but memories returned with my love of growing things. As we tend the garden, we chat and laugh, while supporting each other through everyday difficulties.

    Community gardening is better than gardening alone as you gain friendships and purpose. Growing with others means you keep learning. Growing food for others, with others is very fulfilling. Sharing your knowledge (however basic) with others is satisfying too. However you contribute, it's always gratefully appreciated.

Through food-growing and general gardening, Team Springboard helps people who are experiencing barriers to work and life. Team Springboard currently has two garden sites. The Community Roots allotment garden in Coventry is currently focussing on food production for food banks during the COVID pandemic. The Growing Together community garden in Stratford-upon-Avon is open for the public and edible planting is being added to the assortment of fruit trees, fruit bushes and herbs.