We run as a grassroots charity working with our community from the bottom up to close increasing gaps in community level support created through Government programmes becoming more top down eliminating local voices. Our community hub is central in the town ward, we have public transport near to us, a play park and large green space for community events and of course our wonderful Community Eco Garden as a sharable asset. Our community consists of a wide range of demographics including a low-level sheltered accommodation for age 65+ housing 80 older people, social housing as well as privately owned housing meaning we have an unequal income divide within our community which we aim to counteract through behavioural and societal changes.
Our charity consists of 5 Trustees, one Project Co-ordinator, 3 project staff and 9 volunteers, income generation comes from National Lottery grant funding as the main funder with small funds applied for throughout the year to cover sessional activities, young people, older people groups and events. We cross partnership across Merthyr Tydfil and connect with smaller community groups who benefit from use of our hub and assets such as the Valleys Veterans, Glyn Mll Traveller community and the Diversity Dragons.
To deliver this project we will need to increase capacity for food growing, craft activities, pond improvements and accessible tools/areas to promote an all-inclusive experience to allow our garden to be utilised more, for education to be shared and behavioural changes to be role modelled across the community, aims being an improved outdoor space for horticultural activities, sustainable food growth and improvement of our biodiversity and pollinating areas. Employment of an allocated staff member would bring continuity, familiarity and education to the experience allowing marketing to be concentrated on to reach all our community whether this be through pop ups, letter drops, door knocking and social media posts. This will further bring structure to our gardens and someone to look to for new starters and those nervous about socialisation, for trust and rapport building. This project will also provide sharable learning opportunities for our partnerships in the borough, allow service without buildings a base to work from which in turn increases our engagement with new members. We know outdoor projects work well with those with mental health and cognitive issues and have our own successful disability group who are all eager gardeners and crafters, therefore we feel a gardening project is beneficial to all ages and abilities, our low levels areas allow inclusive, and our wheelchair access minibus removes attendance barriers. Impact will be measured and monitored through attendance logs, feedback surveys, conversational data, visual observations and group evaluations.