January in the Park

January in the Park

Every month our freelance worker Haidee will be writing a diary entry in her sustainability calendar. Haidee works for our gardens project in Sudbury and her diary entries give a great sense of what it’s like to work there and the wildlife she encounters. This month she talks about what you can do in the garden to help the wild birds. Take it away Haidee…

The last of the seed heads are hanging on in the garden at Belle Vue park. 

We wait as long as we can before cutting them down to give the birds time to feast on the seeds in the winter months.  Nigella damascena (love in a mist) pods are full of small black seeds that get shaken and scattered over the ground, although I found a good amount of seed still in the pods this morning. Nigella is also loved by bees and hover flies when in flower so it’s a great plant for the wildlife garden. 

Keep an eye out for next month’s entry on our website and across our socials.

Family Half Term Activity Day

Family Half Term Activity Day

On Friday 29 October 2021 at The People’s Community Garden will be open from 11am to 2pm for a fabulous Family Half Term Activity Day.

Come and explore the garden, take part in fun and educational activities, celebrate our harvest of lovely produce and get closer to the nature that calls the gardens home.

Refreshments will be available so why not pop down to enjoy a cuppa or a glass of squash and whilst you there indulge in a slice of delicious homemade cake and chat with your neighbours. For more information, please email lesley@activlives.org.uk or call ActivLives 01473 345450

Taking place at The People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

Supporting World Mental Health Day

ActivLives supports World Mental Health Day. Sunday 10 October is the day that we are being asked to support the campaign to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health, for all of us.

One of the initiatives this year is the ‘Big Mental Health Get Together’. The Big Mental Health Get Together is all about creating a supportive environment for people to reconnect and to talk about mental health if they want to. ActivLives strives to promote positive mental health in a number of ways including: hosting a wide variety of positive physical and social activity sessions in supportive environments, providing mental health awareness support and training to our staff and volunteers, working closely with local mental health providers, supporting local and national mental health campaigns.

Find out more about World Mental Health Day at World Mental Health Day 2021 – Mental Health UK (mentalhealth-uk.org)

Volunteer vacancies at ActivGardens

Volunteer vacancies at ActivGardens

ActivLives is looking to recruit keen gardeners who enjoy working alongside others to its core volunteer team.

Where you’ll be working : The People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments and the CRESS Pavilion, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8RE.

About ActivGardens
ActivGardens are part of Suffolk-based charity ActivLives. Our community garden is a lively, inspiring and very busy community site which supports people to lead active, healthy lifestyles, 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, young people, older people, and refugees and asylum seekers. We also work with local schools and welcome community groups, local business and other visitors.

What you’ll be doing :
We mainly need people who are confident gardeners and can help keep on top of the work. We also need people who enjoy helping and supporting others, and can assist staff in the smooth-running of the day on this busy site.

Main tasks include the following:

  • Working as part of the core volunteer team to maintain the community garden, which includes traditional vegetable plots, sensory garden, herb spiral, polytunnel cropping/ propagation, orchard and fruit-growing, nature conservation areas.
  • Working alongside the people we support to help them get the most out of their sessions
  • Assisting staff in organising and running the day
  • Helping run group sessions, including school groups and groups of young people
  • Assisting in organising and running events
  • Contributing to development of the gardens and its projects
  • Option to get involved with woodworking/ carpentry, cooking, beekeeping, other specialisms

You will gain skills in:

  • Working with a wide range of people, including people with needs; children and young people; refugees and asylum seekers
  • Public engagement
  • Gardening and horticulture
  • Nature conservation and beekeeping (optional)
  • Events organisation


Training available:

First Aid, Safeguarding and other relevant training

The time you need to give:
We are ideally looking for a minimum commitment of 3 hours per week, for a set time each week – although we understand you may need a level of flexibility.

The skills you need:

We are looking for team players with a positive, friendly attitude and excellent communication skills, who enjoy working with people of all ages and abilities. We need people with an active, hands-on approach, with a willingness to tackle a wide range of garden-related and other tasks.  Gardening/ horticultural experience will be an asset, but confidence, initiative and good organisational skills are also important.

  • Experience of working or volunteering with people with needs is desirable but not essential.
  • Skills associated with woodwork, nature conservation, cooking/ hospitality / catering, community education/ teaching, PR / events, will be an advantage.
  • Experience of working or volunteering with children and young people is desirable but not essential.
  • You may be able to contribute a specialist craft skill (eg flower arranging, art, crafts etc – please let us know!) – we are open to new ideas and projects.

What you’ll get out of it: 
Volunteering with us is suitable for people who have a keen interest in community gardening/ food growing projects and/ or nature conservation and enjoys working alongside other people. You will gain experience of working in the charity sector as part of a diverse, award-winning community project.

Contact details:  Please fill out our application form and email to Ian Hirst, ActivGardens Operations Officer ian@activlives.org.uk. Alternatively, please post to ActivLives, Brightspace, 160 Hadleigh Road, Ipswich IP2 0HH. If you have any questions, or would like an informal chat about the role, please call Ian on 07725 327819 or ActivLives 01473 345350.

To download this information in a word document please click HERE 

Fill gaps in your garden at our charity plant sale

Fill gaps in your garden at our charity plant sale

Come along to Chantry Walled Garden, Chantry Park, Ipswich IP2 0BS on Thursday 14th October from 10am to 2pm for our end of season plant sale! There’ll be the chance to pick up an Autumn bargains for your garden, so make sure to pop by and say hello, the team at the Walled Garden will be thrilled to serve you.

The very last of our stock will be on sale, with a chance to look around this lovely walled site. 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.