ActivLives has been recognised for their ActivGardens programme that works to make the local area a better, greener and healthier place to live.

ActivGardens was set up almost 10 years ago on a neglected corner of an allotment site at the heart of the most disadvantaged area of Ipswich. The vision was to provide a community resource to get people of all ages out into the fresh air, doing something active, growing and harvesting their own food, participating in volunteering and learning new skills, as well as bringing people together to build a more vibrant, resilient community.

In 2011, the group opened a second project – Chantry Walled Garden – in a disused area of a public park on the fringes of a large housing estate as a training facility for young people with complex needs or chaotic lifestyles. Three years later the group renovated a disused pavilion as a community hub, where simple, healthy meals could be cooked using produce they have grown and could also be sold at monthly produce markets. In 2014 a ‘Men in Sheds’ group were formed to work on construction and DIY projects, addressing loneliness in older men.

Last year, 88 people volunteered at ActivGardens, amounting to more than 10,000 hours of health-related activity. The group have also completed an ambitious project to build a garden for older people with neurological conditions, such as dementia, improving access and installing gardening bays for wheelchair users. More than 1,000 people attended open days, events, activities and training courses.


Speaking about winning the award, Susannah Robirosa, ActivLives Development Manager said:

“ActivLives is absolutely delighted to be honoured at a national level. It is a fitting tribute to almost 10 years of hard work by all our staff and volunteers, who have built vibrant community gardens and facilities for everyone to enjoy. We will certainly be celebrating our next birthday. Onwards and upwards!”


Graham Duxbury, national CEO of Groundwork said:
“The ActivLives organisation is an amazing example of why we decided to host the Groundwork Community Awards and why it’s so important to honour and recognise the work that groups across the UK are doing to improve their local communities.

“The group has proven that with the right amount of support, dedication and passion that you really can make a difference.

“We are delighted to have been able to celebrate ActivLives achievements and wish them every success going forward in continuing to be a positive and inspiring voice and example for local people.”

The awards were hosted by BBC presenter and Groundwork Health, Wellbeing and Community Ambassador, Mark Lane. The award was sponsored by Tesco with other corporate sponsors and supporters, Marks and Spencer and Buzzacot also in attendance.

The Groundwork Community Awards were launched by the charity earlier this year to honour small community groups making a big difference to everyone’s quality of life in their local area. The awards received over 250 nominations in its inaugural year, reflecting the huge diversity of projects and services being delivered by community volunteers.

To find out more, please visit

Press release supplied by Groundwork UK.