Place your bedding plants order with our charity nursery!

Place your bedding plants order with our charity nursery!

Why not pop on down to our Chantry Park Walled Garden Nursery to browse our fabulous range of plants and get your garden looking amazing this Summer!

You can also order your plants online so why not take the time to browse our online catalogue for our bigger and better range of plants

  • Our beautiful bedding is ready to be planted out – as part of our selection, we have red, white and blue for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. So come and choose and get your troughs and planters ready!
  • We can take orders for hanging baskets and planters too.
  • We have a new range of perennials – including grasses.
  • We now offer climbers and shrubs.

Come and visit us and enjoy our beautiful walled garden – you can combine it with a walk around 124 acres of historic Chantry Park and tea at ‘Sweet Williams’ café – at the Bowls Pavilion.

If you can’t visit us in our limited opening hours (Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 till 2), please email or phone your order through to Ian Hirst – Mobile – 07599 951060. We would appreciate it if you could phone on Tuesdays or Thursdays, but you can download our order form and email any time and we’ll be back in touch. You can pick up from the nursery at a convenient time, or we can arrange delivery.

Every penny you spend with us goes to supporting people who need our help in Suffolk.

A photo from the Chantry walled Garden. Rows of red and white flowers sit in their trays, the flowers are inside a greenhouse.
An external photo of the Chantry Walled Garden, rows of flowers can be seen on the ground and in the distance the greenhouse can be seen.
An image from the chantry walled garden, the image os of a flower bed, there are pink and purple flowers in the flower bed.
An image of the external area at chantry walled garden. Theer aer some green plants in the foreground, in the middle distance are the rows of plants for sale, in the distance the wall of the walled garden can be seen.
An image of some flowers, at the top of hte image are some pink flowers and then towards the bottom of the image are some white flowers with purple leaves
A close up image of a flower, it is a pink flower surrounded by green leaves.

Invertebrates at Belle Vue Park

Invertebrates at Belle Vue Park

At Belle Vue park we grow lots of different types of plants and shrubs and this creates a range of different habitats for many invertebrates. Our tall grasses have dense tussocky bases where beetles and spiders can survive over winter. We grow lots of flowers with simple open forms such as sedum and cosmos and sunflowers, all loved by pollinators such as bees and hoverflies, and butterflies.

With trees and shrubs forming a permanent all year round foundation to the garden there are lots of places to lay eggs or survive the winter as pupae or adult form if you are an invertebrate such as a moth, ladybird or beetle.

And of course we help invertebrates survive by not killing them! – we don’t use any pesticides in the flower garden.

Job Vacancy: ActivSheds Session Leader – Freelance

Job Vacancy: ActivSheds Session Leader – Freelance

A forctivLives is seeking a Session Leader for its thriving ActivSheds project in Ipswich.

This position is suitable for someone with a passion for carpentry and construction, who enjoys working with people and passing on their skills. You will gain experience of working in the charity sector as part of a diverse, award-winning community project.

The post holder will have a commitment to bringing the benefits of woodworking and construction to a wide range of people, responding to the charity’s core themes of improving health and well-being, providing opportunities for learning, and building local communities.

Excellent carpentry and construction skills are key to the role, providing opportunities for people who experience disadvantage or face challenging circumstances in their lives – including young people with complex barriers to learning, and older people with long-term health issues. Experience of developing people’s skills and confidence in a similar setting will be a distinct advantage.
You will bring fresh ideas to the project and help develop the service, combining an innovative, creative approach with a sound practical sense and good organisational skills.

You will be a “people person”, responding sensitively to people’s needs, with a good sense of humour and an ability to remain calm in a busy environment.

Closing Date for applications: Friday 29 April 2022

Rate: £12 per hour (7.5 hours per day) – freelance
Hours: 15 hours per week on Thursdays and Fridays. Additional hours may be offered, including occasional evenings or weekends
Duration: From May 2022
Base: ActivSheds project, at the CRESS Pavilion (an ActivGardens project near the People’s Community Garden) Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE
Reporting to: ActivGardens Fundraising and Development Manager
Supported by: ActivGardens Operations Officer

About ActivGardens
ActivGardens are lively, inspiring and busy community sites which support people to lead an active, healthy life, learn and share skills, and contribute to their community. Our projects work with a wide range of people, including long-term unemployed, people experiencing mental ill health, depression and anxiety, people with disabilities, older people, and refugees and asylum seekers. Our core Volunteer Team helps with the day to day maintenance of ActivGardens.

About ActivSheds
ActivSheds began as an innovative social programme to improve the health and well-being of older men, by keeping them socially connected during unemployment, ill health, as a family carer, retirement and widowhood. The service has now extended its remit to work with people of all ages and genders.

Friday session: A group of men from diverse backgrounds work shoulder to shoulder on construction projects – learning and sharing skills, while creating social networks, and contributing to their community.

Thursday sessions: Our ActivSheds mixed gender sessions are aimed at people of all ages who need a greater level of support to get the most out of the project – for example, local residents who want to learn new skills; older people with dementia; younger people with complex barriers to learning.

General Duties:

  • Ensure safe working practices and a safe environment at all times – including Health and Safety and Safeguarding induction of all participants.
  • Maintain clear and concise records relating to volunteer registration, induction, Health and Safety, etc, as necessary.
  • Organise, plan, resource and prepare for sessions within budget.
  • Log attendance and, where appropriate, learner achievement/ client feedback.
  • Supervise volunteers and placements of all ages and abilities to enable them to engage in tasks appropriate to their abilities in an enjoyable and fulfilling way.
  • Generate a friendly, positive atmosphere and encourage communication and integration between members of the group.
  • Supervise volunteers and placements of all ages and abilities to enable them to engage in tasks appropriate to their abilities in an enjoyable and fulfilling way.
  • Supervise young people to build their skills and confidence towards accessing further learning, training, work experience and employment.
  • Supervise older people with long-term illness or disability to participate in sessions.
  • Help participants develop their own ideas for projects and bring to fruition.
  • Enable volunteers to “step up” to assist staff where necessary/ appropriate.
  • In consultation with ActivGardens staff, facilitate construction projects at ActivGardens / CRESS Pavilion.

The postholder must –  

  • comply with ActivLives policies and procedures, including Equal Opportunities, Safeguarding, Health and Safety, and Volunteering.
  • contribute to good communication between those involved with the project and other organisations and services.
  • be prepared to undertake induction and training, and participate in supervision in order to fulfil the duties of the post.

You will need: a DBS check and an up to date certificate in First Aid plus Health and Safety. Training is available through ActivLives

Work related experience (essential):

  • Carpentry, woodworking, construction and DIY skills at a very good level
  • Able to use and supervise others safely in the use of power tools and electric machinery

Work related experience (desirable):

  • Teaching/ training – in sector or related sector
  • Working or volunteering in a community-based setting and/ or with people with needs
  • Managing volunteers
  • Administrational skills and basic IT

Personal qualities:

  • A team player with a positive, friendly attitude and good communication skills
  • Enjoys working with people and sensitive to the needs of a wide range of people – e.g. people living with mental ill health, people with disabilities
  • Calm, sensitive and patient with a good sense of humour

To apply:  Please email the application form to Susannah Robirosa, ActivGardens Fundraising and Development Manager, Alternatively, please post or drop in to ActivLives, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich IP2 0HH. If you would like an informal chat about the role, please call Susannah on 07530 407302

Download the application form by clicking the button below.

Job Vacancy: ActivSheds Session Leader – Freelance

Job Vacancy: ActivGardens Green Care Worker

  • ActivLives, Ipswich IP2 0HH
  • £12 per hour (approx. £9,380 per annum)
  • 15 hours per week
  • Fixed term contract for 12 months
  • Required as soon as possible.
  • Closing date: Midday Friday 29 April 2022
  • Interview date: Wednesday 11 May 2022

ActivLives is looking for a creative and experienced person to plan, prepare and run gardening / horticultural activities for people who may experience mental health, disabilities, learning disabilities and/or long-term health conditions.

You will ideally have at least two years’ experience of working with people with mental health conditions or additional needs, particularly in a garden or outdoor setting. You will have the experience, qualifications and knowledge needed to deliver activities to a wide user group – to engage, inspire, build confidence and skills and help people achieve their aspirations/goals.

The post is funded for one year by a local funder and will be monitored and evaluated to see if a more dedicated green care role will benefit our services users/volunteers, in helping them to develop their interests and skills, build confidence and support people at risk to keep motivated and attend ActivGardens sessions.

If you have the skills and enthusiasm, this is a fantastic opportunity for someone who wants to work in an outdoor environment to support the “growing” of both people and plants.

To find out more:

Full details of the role and responsibilities are included in the attached Job Description below, but for an informal chat about the post, please call Susannah Robirosa, ActivGardens Fundraising and Development Manager on: (07530) 407302

How to apply:

Please email completed application forms to: or post to ActivLives, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich IP2 0HH (FAO Cynthia Glinos)

Application Form:

Job Description:

Fantastic news…

Fantastic news…

Julie Stokes ActivLives CEO was on the Mark Murphy BBC Radio Suffolk show this morning 16/3/22, as ActivLives was shortlisted for the High Sheriff Awards – East of England Co-op – Supporting the Isolated Award. ActivLives was shortlisted with two other amazing organisations Suffolk Libraries and Go Start Community Transport.

The joint winners were ActivLives and Suffolk Libraries and commiserations go to Go Start Community Transport. It was an honour just to be shortlisted and amazing to be a joint winner. Everyone at ActivLives would like to thank the panel, Suffolk Community Foundation, High Sheriff – Edward Creasy and BBC Radio Suffolk – Lesley Dolphin and Luke Deal for their support and we look forward to receiving the Award on the 28 March.

Julie Stokes said ‘ This Award is for all the staff (past & present), our wonderful volunteers, all our members and sponsors, who in very challenging times carried on delivering a very different type of services to make sure people were safe, had food and were still connected by zoom sessions, phone calls, 1-2-1 sessions and activities, on-line plant sales and working in bubbles at our Community Gardens to help people get through the pandemic and not feel alone or isolated.  I am very proud to be the CEO of this organisation and that we have been recognised for the services and activities that we deliver to very vulnerable people living in Suffolk. Congratulations to all the organisations and individuals that were shortlisted and to all the winners.’

Chantry Walled Garden launches Spring season

Chantry Walled Garden launches Spring season

We are thrilled to be celebrating Spring and the launch of our bigger and better range of plants on Thursday 24 March, 10am to 2pm – just in time for Mother’s Day.

Please come and pick up a pot of tulips, daffs for your mum or loved one and browse our new selection of perennials, shrubs and climbers at this lovely walled site – Chantry Walled Garden in Chantry Park, Ipswich IP2 0BS – run by community volunteers.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be available at Nursery Cottage – so join us for a cuppa and chat to find out more about what we do.

To take a look at the catalogue and order for please click here: ActivGardens Online – ActivLives

We offer volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. For more information, please contact ActivGardens Operations Officer Ian Hirst on 07599 951060 or email

  • We need more volunteers – especially on Tuesdays.

For details of location and to find out more about our projects, please visit our dedicated ActivGardens page:

  • If you can’t make it on Thursday 24 March, don’t worry, we are open every Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 2pm.

Our catalogue will be available to browse online for orders. Just email over your selection on our order form, or phone Ian on Tuesdays or Thursdays. We will compile your order for you to pick up at a convenient time