Outdoor Learning and Skills Programme for young people at school – 29.06.20

Outdoor Learning and Skills Programme for young people at school – 29.06.20

ActivGardens is launching a new learning and skills programme at the People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE to inspire young people and help move them on to the world of work.

Starting next term (September 2020), it will consist of half-termly (five-week) programmes, giving young people a chance to learn hands-on in a safe outdoor environment.

The programme will be steered by a Level 6 qualified careers professional, with 20 years’ experience of working with young people, offering a range of activities in gardening and horticulture, nature conservation and beekeeping, woodworking and construction, cooking and crafts.

Schools can choose from a menu of activities to help achieve the required Gatsby Benchmarks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 specified in the Statutory Careers Guidance (October 2018). Please see attached table for examples of activities offered.

The scheme will enable young people to:

  • learn practical skills, gain work experience, and take on leadership/ organisational roles in a project embedded in the local community
  • develop competencies such as working as a team, good communication, and being willing to take on and understand responsibility
  • build self-esteem, gain confidence, and feel pride in their achievements
  • develop friendships and form social networks
  • contribute to the local community.

More info can be found in our previous newsletter – www.activlives.org.uk/activlives/activlives-april-2020-newsletter


Cost: £100 per two-hour session for up to 6 students for course of five sessions per half term.
Introductory taster session offer – £50

We can also offer bespoke horticultural/ environmental sessions at your school site.

For further information, or to look around our gardens, please contact:

Fundraising and Development Manager Susannah Robirosa on 07530 407302 or 01473 345350 susannah@activlives.org.uk

Gardens keep up essential growing during lockdown

Gardens keep up essential growing during lockdown

Integral work has been happening at our gardens to make sure our plants & produce stay healthy and alive!
We have ensured that all of our staff and key volunteers are sticking to the Government guidelines by staying 2m apart, having staggered breaks, doing deep cleans daily, and making sure to only do integral work (i.e. potting up, watering, etc).

People’s Community Garden – by Bev

We have been preparing beds to seed directly, lots of seed sowing going on in the polytunnels.  The soil in all beds has been manured and mulched to improve the structure.  Our new compost bins are warming up with the grass cuttings. The potatoes are in, with 2 rows of cabbages, the broad beans have flowers already.  The Summer House has turned into a bee information centre and the pond has lots of frogspawn in it; we have added materials to encourage the frogs to stay nearby.  The sensory gardens and herb spiral are springing into life.  The plan is to produce enough vegetables and fruit to support the local community in difficult times.  We have preserved beetroot, shallots and have made rhubarb Jam in preparation for future markets. We have sown 200 hundred sunflower seeds to give to each local household to encourage them to our markets when the world recovers from the COVID-19 virus.  We have a blue tit nesting in a bird box near the entrance.

Chantry Walled Garden – by Susannah

Meanwhile over at CWG we potted up 3,000 Geranium last week, to be planted out in Ipswich parks and green spaces. We are awaiting the arrival of the perennials order next week – around 1,000 plants, with 1,000 bedding plants due the following week.

We are also making a start on renovating the long flower border so – when all this is over – people will be able to come and enjoy something really special.

Well done and huge thanks to all team who are keeping the sites going – observing strict precautions on social distancing and hygiene.
Bees – by Adee

The bees are slowly coming round from their winter slumber.  The queen starts to lay eggs so the bees have to work hard to make ready for all the new worker bees that are about to be born.  This can be a very difficult time for the hive, a cold wet spring can mean that the hive doesn’t survive, but a good sign to look for are bees coming back to the hive with lots of pollen on their legs.  Flowers in bloom now and trees provide vital food for what’s to come.  Other things to see as the days are getting warmer and longer all bees will be coming out of hibernation.  You will see queen bumblebees out foraging before she goes to build her nest.  Mason bees are emerging from their cocoons and butterflies will be waking up too.  Slow worms, lizards and snakes will be basking in the sun before going off to hunt.

Sign up now for our next course to Grow Your Future!

Sign up now for our next course to Grow Your Future!

If you are looking for a new direction now spring is springing – how about taking part in a free outdoor-based learning programme at ActivGardens?

‘Grow Your Future’ will enable you to learn new skills and gain confidence on your way to further opportunities and employment.

The 12-week scheme will include garden maintenance, horticulture and environmental conservation, with a chance to get involved in specialist activities such as woodworking or bee-keeping.

Grow Your Future is for anyone aged 16+ who is unemployed or economically inactive, and encourages people who face barriers to work – such as a disability, health condition, or caring responsibilities.

  • Where? The People’s Community Garden, Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE
  • When? The first session will be Monday 4th May or Friday 15th May (Friday 8th May is a public holiday).
  • Why not come to look around on Wednesdays in March or April? Just let us know when you’d like to come and our friendly team will welcome you and show your round, and you can sign up in advance of the start date.

The programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the Education & Skills funding Agency, and administered by LIFT Community Grants ‘Local Investment in Learning Paths to Work’.

  • If you would like to find out more, please contact Susannah on 07530 407302 or email susannah@activlives.org.uk or call ActivLives on 01473 345350.

CANCELLED – Fun for all the family at Community Market & Open Garden

CANCELLED – Fun for all the family at Community Market & Open Garden

Our first ActivGardens market of the year is combining with Easter-themed fun at the People’s Community Garden on Friday 17th April, 10am to 12.30pm, during school holidays.

There will be an Easter trail, children’s activities and a chance to explore our community garden on Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE.

Meanwhile, at the CRESS Pavilion we will be offering seedlings to plant on your plot, bedding plants to spruce up your garden or windowsills, and freshly picked produce to perk you up after winter.

ActivSheds will be taking orders for bird tables and hedgehog homes to encourage wildlife to your garden or local green space, or perhaps you have a garden bench in need of renovation now it’s getting warm enough to sit outside.

The CRESS Café will be offering homemade cakes with a cuppa – so come along to enjoy the fun and get to know your neighbours.

There is parking in on site car park and in surrounding roads.

Address: CRESS Pavilion, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE. The People’s Community Garden is a short walk away on Maidenhall Allotments.

Future dates for your diary:

  • Saturday 23rd May 2020 – Chantry Walled Garden plant fair
  • Friday 19th June 2020 – CRESS Community Market
  • Saturday 25th July 2020 – Summer Event
Calling all nature-loving volunteers

Calling all nature-loving volunteers

ActivGardens are calling on those who love getting close to nature in the great outdoors to join us on a Monday afternoon for environmental conservation volunteering in our Wild Zone.

From April, when the bees start buzzing, you will also be able to get involved in bee-keeping sessions at our community apiary.

We need help with maintaining and developing our wildflower meadow, dead-hedging, wildlife habitat, and other areas.

You can enjoy spotting wildlife and birds from our bird hide and, on special occasions, enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation around the campfire.

  • Sessions will run Mondays 1.30 to 3.30pm (a little earlier in winter when the light is fading).

This opportunity if funded by the Postcode Local Trust – a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. It is part of our ‘Bee Amazed’ project which provides opportunities for people living in urban areas to get involved in beekeeping, learning about the environment, and taking part in conservation volunteering in their local area.


If you are interested in getting involved, please contact our Project Officer Bev Baker at ActivLives 01473 345350 or email beverly@activlives.org.uk