ActivGardens nominated for ‘Best Community Garden or Green Space’!

ActivGardens nominated for ‘Best Community Garden or Green Space’!

Groundwork has launched the Groundwork Community Awards as a way of honouring small community groups making a big difference to everyone’s quality of life in their local area and to celebrate and reward groups who often get little recognition and support.

Groundwork will be unveiling the winners at an awards ceremony on 2 November 2017 in London, attended by ActivGardens Development Manager Susannah Robirosa and ActivGardens Project Co-ordinator Danny Thorrington.


The People’s Community Garden 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/ 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, we 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 / chaotic lifestyles.
We then set up a beekeeping project as a skills share initiative between older and younger people. Three years later we renovated a disused pavilion as a community hub, where we cook simple, healthy meals with our produce and extend our reach into the local community at our monthly produce markets.
In 2014 we formed a ‘Men in Sheds’ group, to work on construction and DIY projects, addressing loneliness in older men.

ActivGardens have encouraged Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic participation and promoted inclusion and multi-culturalism. We have assisted a number of BAME people to obtain their own plot either with us or on the wider site, encouraged them to attend and stalls at our events, and worked with Suffolk Refugee Support Forum to organise group visits, multi-cultural feasts and encourage people to take part in volunteering. We supplied veg packs to welcome Syrian refugee families to Ipswich — a diverse town where more than 70 languages are spoken. We have helped BAME people understand how to grow and cook traditional English produce.

Last year, 88 people volunteered at ActivGardens, amounting to more than 10,000 hours of healthful activity. Our garden projects got more than 400 primary school children active in the open air, growing, harvesting and cooking healthy meals. We 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.

A regular volunteer says: “Since coming to ActivGardens I have been reborn. I was an alcoholic but I am now learning how to live a normal life and socialise with people. From the moment I met the team, I felt comfortable, at home and welcomed. I don’t feel judged. I enjoy it all, every day is different – groundwork, landscaping, weeding, planting … and not forgetting watering!
“I like interacting with people, having a laugh and joke.I feel better outside, keeping fit, helping others, and I have learnt to share and listen and accept other people’s opinions. Activgardens has given me somewhere to go and belong in the week.
“And I have achieved my personal goal of getting my own allotment! I am using my new gardening skills and knowledge.”


Watch this space to find out if we have won!

What an amazing start for Goodgym Ipswich!

What an amazing start for Goodgym Ipswich!

30 runners, some supporters, spectators and an array of photographers – it seemed- descended on the University of Suffolk Waterfront building.
After the formalities of posing for photographs (you at the back move a step to the right please!) for the local media and a welcome briefing Goodgym Ipswich was ready to launch it’s inaugural run.

The tension got the better of Goodgym Trainer Ian and he false started before bringing everyone back for the official countdown by our specially invited guest – international transplant athlete and world champion Michelle Mitchell…… And then we were off running past the plush boats, early evening diners and the best view in Ipswich.

Goodgym Colchester regulars Chris, James had come along to lend their support with Colchester Trainer Angela who took up back marker duties.

We re-grouped a few times, including a quick sessions of squats for the quicker guys. Anyone entered in the forthcoming Great East Run had a small preview of part of the half marathon course on the run out along Wherstead Road.

Arriving at the Activ Lives Peoples Community Garden from under the railway bridge it looked like a small army was marching towards the gates! Our host Danny was waiting to welcome us with a quick briefing and outline of the task for tonight.

Splitting into three groups everyone dived in enthusiastically grabbing spades, forks, wheelbarrows and hoes. In 30 minutes a large brassica bed was weeded, another two massive beds dug over, weeded and barrow loads of debris cleared to compost. An enormous amount of works was done and everyone gathered for a team photo with the resident scarecrow., before we headed back to our new base.

Following the same route for our return, re-grouping involved some “Barrier” press ups. A short session of “easy & quick” interval runs between lamp posts along the riverside, was incorporated into our run back to the waterfront where we stretched out to finish off the evening as the light faded.

A wonderful night – Big thanks to our guest star Michelle for coming along to officially launch Goodgym Ipswich – apologies that I almost forgot why I had invited her! Michelle is an inspirational athlete and is keen to raise awareness of organ donation as well as support Goodgym.

Thanks also to University of Suffolk who are hosting Goodgym Ipswich – as a meeting point and with free use of the car park on a Monday evening. – Also to Suffolk County Council who are working in partnership with Goodgym to set up the Ipswich project.

Even bigger thanks to everyone who came on the run – it was a fabulous first one! We’ll meet every Monday from now on 6.15pm ready to set off at 6.30pm at the Waterfront. Look out for details of next week’s Group Run on the website and there is also a Goodgym Ipswich Facebook group that will become our social channel for info and chat!


Original post:

Urban Buzz Ipswich

Urban Buzz Ipswich


The UK has lost over 90% of its wildflower rich grassland since the 1940s, with a move towards more intensive farming and development being the two main causes for this loss of habitat. Many of our pollinator species are in decline with some species restricted to certain parts of the UK. Three bumblebee species have become extinct within the last 50 years with many other species at risk.

Why help pollinators?

If you enjoy chocolate, coffee, strawberries, apples, cherries, and many other of our fruits, vegetables and flowers then you need pollinators! One out of every three mouthfuls of food depends on insect pollination. We need to protect pollinators, as they provide us with all of these luxuries and more, as well as pollinating many of our much loved garden and wildflower plants, providing a service worth millions of pounds!               01733 201210           @buzz_dont_tweet

Buglife The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is a registered charity at Bug House, Ham Lane, Orton Waterville, Peterborough, PE2 5UU
Registered Charity No: 1092293, Scottish Charity No: SC040004, Company No: 4132695


Festival Growers!

Festival Growers!

FolkEast is a festival that brings together thousands of folk lovers to enjoy a weekend of live music, local beer and general folkiness all in the beautiful grounds of Glemham Hall.
Along with the entertainment, there’s also stalls and displays – the stalls are mostly local companies who specialise in hand crafted items – there was a stall who crafts statues out of tree stumps using a chainsaw, and one who makes their own cotton free tshirts. As I said – it’s definitely folky.

FolkEast approached us and asked if we could supply them with some flowers for a municipal roundabout that they’d made – so on the day before the festival started, Susannah and her team went down to the garden and picked up a van load of flowers then headed to the festival.

Once they got there they laid out the flowers in a circle around two giant plastic heads – these were the central attraction of the roundabout – the Easter Island heads. Along with a large plastic palm tree in the middle.

The roundabout was in prime real-estate, right by the archway to the infamous GetOnThe Soapbox Stage – so it got plenty of attention.

Photos taken by our very own Sam, who was playing on the Soapbox Stage with his band; Elephant in the Room.

Goodgym Ipswich Launch

Goodgym Ipswich Launch

You can find out more info here


The launch of Goodgym in Ipswich is on Monday 4 September starting at the University of Suffolk Waterfront Building.

Following some formalities and a photo opp Goodgym runners will make their way to the People’s Community Garden to help Danny with various tasks for 30-45 minutes before running back to the waterfront.

These group runs will take place every Monday evening at 6.30pm ( each week we will undertake a different task)

It is free to join the group runs and Goodgym Ipswich has been launched in partnership with Suffolk County Council.

Community market celebrates community garden harvest

Community market celebrates community garden harvest

Please come along and share the bounty, meet your neighbours, have a chat, and treat yourself to a cuppa and homemade cake at the CRESS café.

ActivSheds will be in full swing, the community garden will be open if you’d like to look around, and there will be a range of stalls run by our community partners.

There will also be a chance to have a health check with Onelife Suffolk.

There is parking on site and in surrounding roads. The CRESS Pavilion is fully accessible with a disabled toilet.

Future 2017 CRESS markets will be held on 15 September and 13 October, with the Christmas special on Friday 8 December.

For more information, or if you would like to get involved please contact ActivGardens Development Manager Susannah Robirosa on 07530 407302 or email or Danny Thorrington on 07532 794173 or email . ActivLives office can be reached on: 01473 345350.