In 2014 we set out to develop a community garden for local people, out of a piece of ground that was urban wasteland. It was difficult finding a bit of land that we could develop into a garden where a lot of our young members and their families could walk to as most of the land is prime housing areas.
When we approached the Kempshott Trustees they welcomed our approach and loved our work with young people and so granted us an area, part of a field to develop the garden. It was the perfect spot, right in between three main areas of Basingstoke, Buckskin, Kemsphott and South Ham and on a major bus route, we were thrilled. We brought in our colleagues from Shaw Trust Horticulture to help us put up a big polytunnel, we can now understand why you pay experts to do this, it was challenging and also a lot of fun!
Old hort and Inspero Volunteer Pat was walking his daughter’s dog at the time when we were struggling to put up the structure, he took some pictures and came back to join us within an hour and has volunteered for us ever since.
Within 6 months we had developed phase one of the garden and ran this as a complete volunteer project inviting local people to contribute to the creation of the garden. In our first and second year we received awards from the Royal Horticulture Society and also won Basingstoke in Bloom for the community garden and it has gone from strength to strength. We have grown vegetable and fruit produce organically for local people and our cookery club programme as well as donating to the local hospice.
In the last two years over 2,500 people have visited the garden, 150 local children attend Gardening Club there annually and 226 corporate employees have volunteered in the garden part of our employee volunteering team building days.
As well as our programmes for young people, we recently started a Green Therapy programme for adults on a Friday and it has been a great experience with people and volunteers learning how to grow food for the first time and even cooking for the first time in their lives.
Now we are developing phase three and asking for your help, if you shop in Tesco’s please vote for us at your local stores in and around Basingstoke, the project is called Love2Grow.
This funding is going to make a huge difference to all the people who already use the garden and will give us the capability to reach much more people locally to get more people outdoors, growing their own food, gardening for health and learning how to cook and bake healthy meals, enhancing their quality of life and well being.
The Inspero Team