Job vacancy – ActivGardens Operations Officer

Job vacancy – ActivGardens Operations Officer

  • £14 per hour (approx. £27,375pa).
  • 37.5 hours per week
  • Initial fixed term contract for 12 months, with any extension subject to continued funding.

ActivLives is seeking a motivated, qualified, passionate and experienced person to supervise and co-ordinate its thriving, busy community gardens and outreach projects with two sites in Ipswich and a project in Sudbury.

ActivLives is now looking to appoint a full time ActivGardens Operations Officer to oversee the day-to-day operations of our two main sites, including the supervision of freelance staff and key volunteers and acting as the lead in Health and Safety matters.

You will:

  • have a commitment to bringing the benefits of gardening and horticulture to a wide range of people, responding to the charity’s core themes of improving health and well-being, providing opportunities for new learning, and helping build communities
  • enjoy working with people; recruiting and leading teams of volunteers to work across our sites, while helping them develop personally in their role
  • have sound practical sense, excellent organisational skills, and attention to detail. A good sense of humour and ability to remain calm and focused on a busy site is essential.

Experience of managing diverse teams of different ages, abilities and life experiences, will be an advantage.

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.

Visit our website: for more information about ActivGardens and the wider charity ActivLives.

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

Download the Job Description : 0405 Job Description – ActivGardens Operations Officer – ActivLives

Download the Application Form: 0405 Application Form – ActivGardens Operations Officer – ActivLives

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

Interview date: 5 July 2021.

Thank you to Sudbury in Bloom!

Thank you to Sudbury in Bloom!

ActivLives staff and volunteers were happy to receive a water bowser kindly donated by Sudbury in Bloom, to keep Belle Vue Park well-watered over the hot Summer months.

It was fantastic to meet the Mayor Sue Ayres, who kindly attended the hand-over over the water bowser. It’s going to a huge help to the team at Belle Vue Park in order for them to keep the garden area looking lovely and luscious for the people of Sudbury.

Our thanks gores to Sudbury In Bloom for the kind donation!

Help us raise £500 through the Asda Green Token scheme

Help us raise £500 through the Asda Green Token scheme

We’re very happy to reveal that we’ve been chosen for Green Token Giving scheme at Asda Stoke Park. This amazing opportunity could be vital in helping us to continue our outreach and community work over the next few months. Voting is online and you can choose to give your green token to ActivLives, by doing so, your help could mean we receive £500 from the Asda Foundation.

ActivLives work includes running sports sessions, hosting singing clubs, Better Balance sessions and our ActivGardens which includes the People’s Community Garden and the Chantry Walled Garden. It’s a huge breadth of activities that aims to help isolated and lonely people who otherwise would struggle to engage with their community. You can see a flavour of our work in the community in our image above, it shows just a tiny amount of what we do and how we try and keep the community active and engaged.

You might be wondering how to vote for us online, well it’s super easy! Just head to type in Stoke Park into the box which says ‘select your local Asda store’ and then vote for ActivLives/ActivGardens.

The Green Token scheme is open right now and runs until Saturday 31 July so make sure to vote and then tell all of your family and friends to vote too. Everyone at ActivLives would like to thank you for your kind support and your vote to help get us to that £500 donation!

Get voting now and don’t forget we’re listed as ActivLives/ActivGardens:

500 Strawberry plants… cream teas incoming!

500 Strawberry plants… cream teas incoming!

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Andrew Sturgeon at Lindsey Lodge Farm for donating 500 strawberry plants to the ActivGardens. It was a fantastic surprise and we’ve put the plants in our Chantry Walled Garden where we have enough space to store them. We’ve put our heads together to think about what we could use them for and have decided to grow them for some delicious cream teas so we can celebrate 10 years of gardening at Chantry Walled Garden!

We’ll be certain to keep you updated on the progress of our strawberry plants!

High Sheriff of Suffolk visits the People’s Community Garden

High Sheriff of Suffolk visits the People’s Community Garden

We were thrilled to be visited by the High Sheriff of Suffolk at our People’s Community Garden, it was fantastic to welcome him on what was his first official visit as High Sheriff. He took a tour of the gardens and explored our poly tunnels, Cress pavilion, ActivSheds and allotment areas plus he met many of the workers and volunteers who spend their time making the garden look wonderful.

We were also very surprised and thrilled to receive The Suffolk Award for Outstanding Service to the Community in Suffolk during the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is a great honour for us tor receive the award and it will be displayed with pride at ActivLives HQ.

Take a look at our photo gallery below to see more of his visit. (Click the images to make them bigger)

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – Nature

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – Nature

It’s great to see that this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Nature’. Here at ActivLives we can see how our Community Garden Projects, the People’s Community Garden, Chantry Walled Garden and our Sudbury Project have helped our staff and volunteers to cope through the Covid-19 pandemic. From the first lockdown in March 2020, we were able to keep the People’s Community Garden and Chantry Walled Garden operating with bubbles of one staff and a small team of dedicated volunteers. They helped maintain the gardens, nurture our plants, keep an eye on our lovely Bees and support each other.

Quote from a volunteer at the People’s Community Garden, “Being able to come to the garden has helped me to cope with my anxiety and depression. Although worried to begin with, seeing the staff and other volunteers and knowing I am helping others in the community, has helped me get through the pandemic and the lockdowns.”

Through the lockdowns it was reported that being outside, going for walks, gardening and even watching wildlife webcams helped people to cope with the pandemic and connect with nature more. We even saw on the news how wildlife managed to creep back into the towns and villages when us humans weren’t around.  Nature is central to our psychological and emotional health, not forgetting our physical health as well, and its not just being in nature that helps but how we interact, connect with it that counts.

ActivLives is working in partnership with the NSFT Woodlands Unit and Recovery College to do just that. During Mental Health Awareness Week, we are working with the NSFT Woodlands Unit to support activities and walks with service users to help them connect with nature and to inform them of activities they can continue to do in the local community. We are also working with NSFT Recovery College on a webinar ‘Connecting with Nature,’ which hopefully will be part of their Webinar Programme very shortly.

Our Community Gardens in Ipswich and the Sudbury Project are slowly opening up to more people as restrictions ease, as well as all our other activities such as health walks, ActivSport sessions, Step by Step falls prevention sessions, Specialist Hubs and outdoor singing groups.

How can we all connect with nature?

Stop – look around and use your senses to connect – see the colours, patterns, smell the flowers, listen to the wind, look up at the sky, the patterns of the clouds. Just sit outside, close your eyes and listen. This can help reduce anxiety and a simple way to connect more deeply with the natural world around you.

Grow your own – grow some seeds on a window ledge and watch how they grow… When they have grown plant them in your garden or in a container on a balcony or in a back yard. Watching and helping them grow is a great way to connect with nature.

Get to know your houseplants – you don’t have to have a garden to bring nature indoors. Sit and look at your houseplants, study the leaves, patterns, colours and the flowers.

Start bird watching – in the park, on a walk, log how many different birds visit your garden.

Photographs – you can connect with nature looking through photos you have taken of trips and adventures. Some national parks also offer ‘virtual tours’ and there are lots of wildlife webcams you can join.

Artwork – paint, print, draw – take time to capture nature on paper, make collages, press flowers, look at the shapes, texture, pattern on leaves, look at the plants growing in the verges or in holes in the pavements – they are all important to nature.

Getting your hands dirty – gardening, planting plants. If you are planting out your seedlings, take time to feel the soil, notice its texture and smell. It’s good to get your hands dirty, but make sure you wash them well afterwards…

Take time to connect with Nature this week and beyond.


A group of ActivLives volunteers tend to a public garden in Sudbury

ActivLives volunteers work to improve the community garden space in Sudbury

The colourful entrance to the People’s Communty Garden where the produce and flowers grown is on sale to the public.

An ActivLives volunteer stands in the green house at Chantry Walled Garden

Our volunteer David working at the Chantry Walled garden, helping to ensure the flowers are ready for display throughout Ipswich parks.