ActivLives hosts Wonderland-themed tea party

ActivLives hosts Wonderland-themed tea party

The quirky ‘Wonderland Tea Party’ was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, with all the key characters getting involved – serving tea, selling plants and causing mischief.

It was just part of the 2018 Big Garden Party, run by ActivLives, which celebrated the 10th birthday of the People’s Community Garden at Maidenhall Allotments.

The bumper event was opened by the mayor of Ipswich, Jane Riley, and Ipswich Town legend and ActivLives’ patron Roger Osborne.

With stalls from numerous Suffolk-based organisations such as Ipswich Wildlife Group and Wildlife Gadgetman, to Suffolk Refugee Support and Suffolk Police and Fire Services, it was a lively collaboration of local groups and businesses.

While the Ipswich Wildlife Group were busy building bug boxes, the Wildlife Gadgetman showed off his photography hide, and the team at Suffolk Refugee Support cooked Syrian falafal for all to try.

Younger visitors were also spoilt for choice, with activities ranging from face-painting and hat-making to a carousel, drumming workshop and magic show.

The soundtrack to the day was provided by Saints Community Band, The Phil Jackson Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, and ActivLives’ very own Keep On Rockin’ singing group as well as a few local talents perfoming in the Welcome Area.

Sam Thurlow, from ActivLives, said: “With the theme of this years event being ‘Wonderland Tea Party’, visitors were promised ‘a day to join with all your favourite Wonderland characters for a cup of tea and some cake’ and they weren’t disappointed.

“There was a tea party with the Cheshire Cat serving drinks, Alice selling plants, the Mad Hatter causing mischief and the White Rabbit seemingly running around all day – all of which were ActivLives staff and volunteers who spent the past few months organising this brilliant event.

“We think this quote sums the day up nicely: ‘Absolutely brilliant…the best Garden Party yet…it’s so much fun!’ said one of the visitors as they walked through the site with a strawberry tart in their hand on their way to try their luck in the tombola.”

Next Community Market

Next Community Market

Julie Seager will be behind the serving hatch – back by popular demand – using some of our delicious produce for quiche and cakes for you to enjoy with a cuppa!

Meanwhile our trestle tables will be groaning with freshly picked produce, unwrapped in plastic and with zero food miles – so please do come and make the most of it!

For gaps in your garden, come and pick out a plant from Chantry Walled Garden.

Please share this as much as you can with friends and neighbours, and on social media, feel free to print out the poster and stick up somewhere prominent! See you there!


Community market bursting with fresh local produce

Community market bursting with fresh local produce

Freshly picked local produce will be on offer at the community garden’s next market on Friday 8th June, at the CRESS Pavilion, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE, from 10am to 12.30pm.

There will also be a selection of excellent quality plants on offer, grown at our walled garden project, to spruce up your garden or windowsill.

Meanwhile, young people from Chantry Academy will be behind the serving hatch this month with a wonderful selection of cakes and goodies they have made – so come and spoil yourself and relax with your friends and neighbours over a cuppa.

Produce in its prime will include spring greens, lettuce, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, rocket leaves, and fresh herbs.

ActivSheds will be busy renovating garden furniture and making woodland crafts and items for the garden. Why not try something different and join in a carpentry taster session?

Meanwhile the garden will be open for you to wander around and enjoy. How about coming along to volunteer one day? It’s a great way of keeping fit and your reward will be a constant supply of fresh veg!

  • Parking is available in the Pavilion car park and surrounding roads.
  • The Pavilion is fully accessible with an accessible toilet.
  • Save the Date – our 10th Anniversary Big Garden Party is on
    Saturday 21st July 2018 from 11am till 3pm. Please join us!

Future 2018 CRESS markets will be held on 10 August, 14 September, 5 October – celebrating the wonderful world of fungus! There will be no market in November as we prepare for our Christmas Market on Friday 7 December 2018.

For more information, or if you would like to hold a stand, please contact ActivLives on 01473 345350 or Susannah on 07530 407302 or email

Special Olympics badminton returns to Suffolk

Special Olympics badminton returns to Suffolk

The Special Olympics Eastern Region Badminton Tournament, which is being organised by Special Olympics Suffolk with the support of ActivLives and the Suffolk County Council ‘Most Active County’ initiative, will be held in Ipswich on Saturday 12th May.
“Special Olympics is sport for athletes with an intellectual disability and is the third element of the Olympic movement together with the
Paralympics and of course the Olympics themselves”, said Terry
McEntee, Chairman of Special Olympics Suffolk.
“This tournament will provide a great opportunity for our players in
Suffolk to compete against Special Olympians from across the country”, said Mike McCarthy from ActivLives and Special Olympics Suffolk.
The tournament, which will be a doubles competition, will serve as one of the last opportunities for selected players to prepare for the Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games which are being held in Stirling, Scotland this August.
The forthcoming competition in Ipswich will be restricted to players who are registered with Special Olympics GB, “We would love to get more
Special Olympic badminton players involved across our county”, said
If you would like to find out more about how you can play badminton with Special Olympics Suffolk, please contact Mike McCarthy on 01473
345350 or email

ActivGardens make ready for Great Garden Trail in aid of hospice

ActivGardens make ready for Great Garden Trail in aid of hospice

On Friday 11th May, the People’s Community Garden will be open from 10am to 3pm, with tours of the bee hives at 11am and 2pm.

  • The CRESS Community Market and Café will run as usual from 10am to 12.30pm at the CRESS Pavilion, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE (entry free of charge), so visitors can enjoy this friendly, bustling event and enjoy a cuppa and a homemade cake courtesy of Ipswich Academy pupils, who will be behind the serving hatch this month.

The following day, on Saturday 12th May, it’s the turn of Chantry Walled Garden to open its gates to the public, from 10am to 3pm, with refreshments in Nursery Cottage garden and a wonderful selection of plants for sale.

Entrance to each garden will be £3, with proceeds shared between the two charities.

Ten years old this year, the People’s Community Garden began on an abandoned allotment site and today includes vegetable plots, a heritage orchard, sensory garden, wildlife areas and herb spiral. The project enables people of all ages and abilities to get active, learn skills and contribute to their community. It has a diverse volunteer base and works with schools and young people.

Historic Chantry Walled Garden in Chantry Park has flower borders and vegetable growing areas, extensive glasshouses, and a courtyard garden designed for wheelchair users, enabling older people to carry on gardening. Young people on work placement learn about horticulture here and volunteers from the local community help tend the garden and grow plants.

Parking is available at or near both gardens, and there is wheelchair access to most areas. Dogs are allowed on a lead. For more information please follow these links:

ActivGardens are opening as part of St Elizabeth Hospice’s Great Garden Trail, which runs throughout spring and summer to help generate the funds the hospice needs for its invaluable services. Please follow this link for more information and a full list of gardens involved, together with maps.

Future CRESS markets will be held on FRIDAY 8 June, Big Garden Party Saturday 21 July, Friday 10 August, 14 September, 5 October, Christmas event 7 December.