In light of the UK lockdown, we unfortunately won’t be bringing our usual bright and colourful newsletter to you this quarter.
However, here’s an electronic version with the added benefit of bigger photos!
Festive Market a HUGE Success!
Our team at the community garden pulled out all the stops to put on a fabulous festive market on 4th December, and thanks to all our supporters, we made a whopping £568!
As well as freshly picked produce and cheerful plants to brighten up winter days, we had an amazing array of gifts, all made by our volunteers and learners.
Visitors braved the first really bad weather of the season to browse our original range of gifts such as – bee products – including bee bombs, candles and lip balm – a delicious selection of jams, jellies and chutneys, strings of chillies and many other decorations, pine cone firelighters and bird feeders, woolly hats and furry brooches, and a fantastic display of wooden items by the ActivSheds team.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the day the success it was.
It’s not too late to pick up a gift from us! Festive goods will continue to be on sale from our polytunnels until we close for Christmas on 18th December.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas. Thank you for all your support in this very challenging year. We look forward to seeing you in 2021! Gardening and access to the great outdoors has never been more important. The gardens reopen on Monday 4th Janaury 2021.
Grow Your Future learners move on to pastures new as new faces start their garden adventure
Our learners have enjoyed a productive three months at the community garden, and are now moving into work experience in a variety of roles – supporting others, trying their hand at flower arranging with a professional florist, and working at Chantry Walled Garden.
As well as taking part in all aspects of horticulture and gardening, beekeeping and nature conservation – including scything our wild meadow with a local expert, they got involved in preparing for the market too, including making pickles and jams, apple-pressing, harvesting honey and making crafts.
The group is busy looking at progression routes into further training or employment, while our third group of 10 learners enrolled in November, and is now settling in.
These free courses are funded by the European Social Fund.
We still have spaces on this course, which resumes in January. Please get in touch if you or someone you know or support would like to take part.
Grow to Learn gives young and old a taste of the great outdoors
Leading Lives Community Benefit fund has enabled us to provide taster sessions for people with additional needs, both at our gardens and at our ActivSheds project.
Our weekly sessions have enabled young people to enjoy a range of gardening and nature conservation activities, alongside cooking, jam-making and other activities.
While these sessions are fun to take part in, they also enable people to develop practical skills and encourage important attributes such as good communication, ability to work as part of a team and willingness to take on responsibility.
Meanwhile, over at the ActivSheds, Ralph has helped men with living with a range of conditions, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke and post-traumatic stress disorder, to get involved in making, doing, repairing, recycling, upcyling and everything to do with wood.
Those who take part enjoy socialising with others and sharing their skills and knowledge.
- Thanks to South West Area Committee for funding our pop-up garage, which enables more people to take part in a safe, socially-distanced way.
Women’s Shed is now in Action!
Our merry band of ‘she shedders’ now meet every other Thursday afternoon, making all sorts of items from windmill sails (model, of course) to teddy trugs for grandchildren.
We also held a craft afternoon, flower arranging session, jam-making sessions and apple pressing as part of our Women’s Skills Exchange.
- Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.
Walled Garden volunteers bring power of flowers to parks
Chantry Walled Garden volunteers, led by David Sheedy, grew an astounding 14,000 spring bedding plants for Ipswich parks and green spaces.
The pansies and polyanthus were collected by Ipswich Borough Council Parks team in October to be planted all around the town.
As one of our customers said: “It’s so important to have flowers during these difficult times. I’m going to enjoy seeing them all planted out.”
The plants arrive to our nursery as tiny plug plants in August, which then have to be carefully potted up and grown on, to be in peak condition for planting out in autumn. These plants will keep blooming right through winter and into spring.
Thanks to all our team who worked so hard and made such a tremendous effort.
Helping hands from local business
Our Wild Zone benefited from Do Good’s corporate networking team in October, when a group of seven people from various local business came to the People’s Community Garden.
We were delighted to welcome Councillor Nadia Cenci – who has been a great supporter of the gardens over the years – as part of the team, setting her to work on raking up grass as habitat piles and sowing wildflower seed.
We hope to welcome back Do Good in 2021.
School puts finishing touches to their new garden with a bit of help from us!
Lesley visited Stoke High – Ormiston Academy to help children with additional needs put the finishing touches to their garden at the front of the school.
We took over a selection of plants which children enthusiastically planted up.
Community librarian Jane Riches, who has led the project for the school, said: “All of the children in this group enjoy getting outside, they feel more relaxed working in a small group and love the garden.
“They dug up 60 potatoes yesterday, yes they actually counted them!”
Update from Belle Vue Park, Sudbury – Bev
Our volunteers continue to improve the beds at Belle Vue Park. We have been clearing the woodland area of the park. We have cut back large shrubs, cleared pathways, we have moved non-woodland plants and have replaced them with English Bluebell bulbs and woodland plants such as Pulmonaria and Cyclamen. Perrywoods in Sudbury very kindly donated £50 to enable us to purchase more woodland plants.
We are putting leaf mould on the beds to protect the dahlia tubers. The tender plants have been moved to Chantry Walled Garden and winter bedding plants and perennials have gone in. The Community Wardens have given us a quantity of woodchip that has been placed next to our compost bins ready to use next year.
We have provided work experience placements for students at the Ryes College – which provides education and care to young people with complex needs. The students have been very courteous and hard-working. They have integrated into the Sudbury team very well with support from Liz Brightwell and other staff from the school.
Our volunteers say they have become much closer during lockdown – forming friendships, meeting outside of the project to enjoy other activities together, and supporting each other – running errands for each other and calling each other to make sure they are okay.
“I love gardening. It’s good for my health. I have made friends at the ActivGardens group and have recently started to support Sudbury in Bloom with Julia.”
“I need to socialise with others. I have made friends with Bev and the other volunteers. I go walking on a Tuesday with Rosemary and meet Bernie to tend the garden at the Railway station. Gardening keeps me fit, mentally and physically.”
“I joined to learn life skills and enjoy talking to other volunteers – it makes me feel very happy and useful.”
Getting Out & About with ActivLives!
ActivLives members have had the chance to get out of their houses, and go on mini health walks with ActivLives staff – meaning they can get weekly exercise, while staying safe and supervised!
These have happened in one-to-one sessions, as well as in small socially-distanced groups.
Here’s what some members have had to say:
“I enjoy exercising with someone else, it really helps to motivate me.
“The exercises that we are doing remind of what we would normally do at our badminton sessions.
“I am feeling so much fitter as a result of these (exercise) sessions, I really enjoy the challenge.”
“It has been so lovely to go for a walk somewhere different (on the heath), it’s not something that I would feel safe doing on my own.”
“I have been stuck in the house for so long, these walks are great.
“I am seeing places that I have never been to before, and I have lived for over 40 years!
“Thank you Mike, it’s really good to see you both again.
“My Daughter in Law said ‘Go for it’, when I told her about the walks. I’m so glad that I did!”
After successfully re-opening some of our Better Balance sessions as well as our ActivSteps session back in September following the end of the first lockdown, another lockdown meant that these had to stop temporarily after not long being started! During lockdown 2 we were able to offer live exercise sessions via Zoom where some members were able to participate in their exercise class with their instructor from the comfort of their own homes. This worked really well, with very few technical difficulties and allowed people to maintain their fitness whilst keeping connected with others.
Now that Lockdown 2 has finished we have been able to reopen some of our classes again whilst following Covid safety measures. We ensure that members are 2 metres apart whilst participating in their exercise, frequently sanitise, follow social distancing and face masks are worn (although these can be removed during the exercise). We are operating 2 Better Balance sessions on a Tuesday morning at Rushmere Village Hall as well as 3 sessions at Walton Community Centre on a Tuesday morning. St Mary at Stoke Church Hall also has a session running on a Tuesday morning. Our ActivSteps group continues to run at Castle Hall Community Centre on a Thursday morning and Woodbridge also has 2 sessions running at the Fred Reynolds Centre, also on a Thursday morning.
We were also pleased to have welcomed back some members to our Leiston Better Balance session on Wednesday 9th December. This was the first time this group had returned since March and it was lovely to see people back at the King George Community Centre. Comments from our members were “it’s really good to be back”.
As some venues are still not opening up, we have been trying to seek alternative venues for some of our other groups. We are very grateful to the Kingfisher Pub at Chantry which is temporarily hosting our Monday morning class.
We are making lots of wellbeing phone calls to keep in touch with our members and hope that it won’t be too much longer until we are able to resume all of our Better Balance sessions. We look forward to seeing those members that have not yet been able to return to their class as well as welcoming new people who are interested in joining.