During these difficult times, we thought we’d bring our plants and produce to you.

Everyday ActivGardens

ActivGardens are all about growing! Growing plants. Growing fresh healthy food. Growing yourself… your fitness, your health, your skills, your friends, your community. Get active with ActivGardens!

Volunteer with ActivGardens

If you enjoy working with others in the great outdoors, then get involved at ActivGardens.

We have 2 excellent sites in Ipswich, both of which have an ever expanding team of brilliant volunteers, who work from 1 day a week up to 5 or 6!

Want to help but not sure what you want to do? Well, there’s something for everyone – whether you want to care for plants or help out at an event.
Just get in touch, and we’ll talk you through all the different opportunities we can offer!

What We Offer

We have two sites in south-west Ipswich, the People’s Community Garden, on Maidenhall Allotments, and Chantry Walled Garden, in Chantry Park. We also run community growing projects in other parts of Ipswich and around Suffolk.

ActivGardens are inspiring, green projects with a job to fit everyone … and time for a cuppa and a chat.

ActivGardens are places to grow ideas and learn new skills, to showcase innovation and spark creativity. It’s friendly and welcoming, so you can find your niche and gain confidence or experience, learning at your own pace.

It’s not just about gardening – we have a community kitchen, café and market place, and an ActivShed for DIY and construction.

We are committed to doing all we can to support the natural environment through our bee-keeping project and areas for wildlife.

We have a garden centre and plant nursery, so you can acquire industry skills, show members of the public round, and pass on what you have learnt about plants.

We put on fun-packed events, and host visits for schools, colleges, garden clubs and community groups.

We work with all ages and abilities, so there are opportunities to help and mentor others.

We welcome work teams from local business with willing hands itching to get out of the office. It’s a great way of building your team and developing productive bonds between members of staff … and helps us keep on top of the work or complete a big project.

News from ActivGardens

Our Garden Projects

The People’s Community Garden


Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE

What it is

The People’s Community Garden is an outdoor community resource on a public allotment site, where people of all ages and abilities get together to develop and maintain an inspiring green space. It is a place where you can find your niche and work at your own pace, as part of a friendly and dedicated team. It is a place where you can make friends and learn skills, as well as contribute your ideas, to make it truly a people’s garden.

Opening Times

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9am until 3.30pm



Chantry Park, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich IP2 0BS

What it is

Chantry Walled Garden is a heritage walled garden in a public park, with flower borders and vegetable-growing areas, as well as extensive glasshouses as part of our plant nursery.  Our base is cosy Nursery Cottage, where there is an accessible courtyard garden with raised beds for wheelchair users. The adjacent workshop has facilities for woodwork and basic construction. In this garden you can learn skills relevant to the horticultural industry as well as enjoy maintaining a garden full of history. 

Opening Times

Tuesday & Thursday 9am until 3.30pm



Bell Vue Park and various around Sudbury

What it is

Grow Your Community – Sudbury provides opportunities for local people to get involved in community growing in and around Sudbury.

Opening Times

  • At Belle Vue Park – every Thursday 10am until 12.30pm
  • In other green spaces, housing estates and local plots by arrangement

Our Staff

Susannah Robirosa

ActivGardens Fundraising & Development Manager

I have spent the past 11 years developing two redundant urban green spaces into creative, innovate and diverse community resources offering volunteering and training opportunities in horticulture, the natural environment and other related areas. The People’s Community Garden includes a community apiary, CRESS community hub and ActivSheds construction project, while Chantry Walled Garden is a plant nursery growing 25,000 plants for Ipswich parks and open spaces, together with an accessible Garden for Older People. I also manage outreach projects in Ipswich and, currently, our main outreach project in Sudbury. My job with ActivLives represented quite a career jump – as an English graduate, I worked for many years as a journalist in London and Melbourne before settling on the Essex/ Suffolk border with my husband and three children in 1995. While working as a sub editor at the East Anglian Daily Times, I decided to study for an RHS Diploma in Horticulture at Writtle College. I briefly ran a gardening business with a colleague, before landing a job with the Town & Bridge Project, now ActivLives, in 2008.

Lesley Hartley

ActivGardens Project & Site Co-ordinator


Bio to follow.


Beverly Baker

ActivGardens Project Officer


I joined the ActivGardens team in August 2019, working with Grow Your Community project in Sudbury. In October, I extended the role to Ipswich – as Project Officer at the People’s Community Garden.

I have worked in education for around 22 years – most recently at Thomas Gainsborough High School in Sudbury as Head of Careers.  In 2015 I was awarded the prestigious CDI National award ‘Career Educator of the Year’ for my work with young people at risk of disengagement.  In 2016, I achieved a post graduate qualification in careers guidance to support people of all ages. 

In 2004 I became a Cub Scout Leader, progressing to Akela for the 1st Great Cornard Cub Scouts from 2005 for around 10 years. I have experience of bushcraft and root scouting practices.  My campfire cooking sessions are already popular with volunteers and placements. 

I am married to Ian, we moved to Lavenham in 2012, where we have an allotment at the end of our garden; I like nothing better than to disappear for hours into the greenhouse to experiment with new seed varieties and plant cuttings.  We believe in gardening organically and companion planting and encourage a range of wildlife to our garden. We are both keen cooks and enjoy pickling and preserving our produce.  

My skills and experience of working across the community are invaluable.   I still cannot believe that I have been able to combine my two passions in life – supporting people and gardening.  I feel very lucky to work with a range of people in the community and look forward to going to work each day. 


Upcoming Activities

Click on an event below to find out more details


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ActivLives is a local charity, which relies on grants, trusts, donations, fundraising activities, sponsorship & commissions to enable us to provide & develop our services across Ipswich & Suffolk.