May 25, 2022

Why community gardens are the new book clubs

This year, after a hiatus caused by the pandemic, the Community Gardens Awards program returns. Run by the National Garden Scheme (NGS), entries are open until the end of February, so if you’re involved with a community garden that deserves a boost, why not take part in the Awards? Successful applicants will receive grants of up to £5,000 and winners will be announced in early summer.

In 2020, 44 projects across the country received grants totaling £97,210. The largest grant, £4,950, went to Denbigh In Bloom in Denbighshire. This year, for the first time, 20 nominated community gardens will open to the public under the National Garden Scheme, including former grant recipients from Wonky Garden in Cheshire (see right).

“Across the country, community gardens bring people together,” says NGS’s George Plumptre, who points to their importance in cities and towns, where many don’t have their own gardens and green space is limited. For Plumptre, community gardening is a “catalyst for diversity, engaging individuals and groups from very diverse backgrounds in the joys of gardening”.

The awards highlight the importance of community gardens in contemporary Britain and their positive social impact, highlighting the benefits to the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.

“Access to a community garden can change a life. We never fail to be impressed with the quality of applications we receive from community garden projects and what they achieve with relatively small grants,” says Plumptre. “Community gardens in this country reveal wonderful variety and ingenuity: from greenhouses built with recycled insulation boards to organic vegetable plots with beehives and cut flowers and garden spaces for children.”

Farm in the town of Stonebridge, Nottinghamshire