Grow Your Future – Sudbury will be a garden maintenance business offering training and employment opportunities to local unemployed people, while selling services that benefit the community.

Working with local councils, business and social landlords, as well as private clients, it will support Sudbury and surrounding areas to build its community focus and achieve a cleaner, greener, place to live, work and visit.

The proposal, supported by Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council, builds on the success of a volunteer project, ‘Grow Your Community – Sudbury’, which has a dedicated volunteer base of around 15 people working in Belle Vue Park each week, as well as community champions on housing estates and in other parks and green spaces.

ActivGardens Development Manager Susannah Robirosa said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop our project into a community business that has the power to transform not only Sudbury’s parks and green spaces, but people’s lives too.

“Our volunteers have made a real difference in Belle Vue Park, and we are excited at the prospect of developing our work to train people of all ages in horticulture to form garden maintenance teams.

“Part of what we hope to do is offer help to older people and young families, and others who are struggling with their gardens – teaching them skills and offering low-maintenance solutions so they enjoy their gardens rather than find it overwhelming, and in the worst cases, a threat to their tenancy.

Community businesses are organisations rooted in a local area, run by and answerable to members of the community, and which make a trading profit to re-invest into that community.  In this way, ActivLives is keen for local residents and those involved in supporting people who might benefit from a service in Sudbury to help it shape this community-led approach. It is keen to hear from people who would like to train with the business, as well as from people interested in using the service. It would also like to encourage people to come forward to help steer the business.

Consultation forms are available online or paper copies can be picked up at the Town Council or Sudbury Library. There will be a chance to find out more at ActivLives stand at the Farmers’ Market on Friday 23 March and at the regular market on the afternoon of Thursday 29th March.

This is one of three grants in Sudbury to support the development of community business ideas in the town.

There are thousands of community businesses in the UK doing everything from planning new affordable homes, running community energy and reviving struggling local pubs.

Over the past year, Power to Change has been working with Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council to unearth budding community business ideas by local people for local people.  These Suffolk Seed Grants will test the viability of the businesses proposed and the benefit they could bring to Sudbury.

Richard Harries, Director, Power to Change Research Institute said: “It’s great to be able to support fledgling community business ideas, many of which just need a bit of help at the start to really take off.  We’re excited to see what local gems are unearthed and to test the benefit they could bring to the local area.”

Cllr Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Health & Wellbeing Board Chairman added: “I know there is a wealth of creativity and entrepreneurialism within our communities. Our partnership with Power to Change will enable us to use our local relationships and networks as local councils to identify where the energy and opportunities are in our communities and focus the support that is on offer from Power to Change. I am confident that the partnership will give communities the support and help they need to turn their ambitions into a reality and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”