Environment

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

Windmill Community Gardens are based in an inner city area of Nottingham. We are a voluntary project run by local people that teaches people to grow a huge range of crops and helps them learn how to turn them into delicious food, helped by volunteers from many nations who share their national dishes. We also act as a community hub, running a range of seasonal celebrations, activities and workshops as well as doing outreach work in the local community. We're known for our innovative and quirky reuse of materials to create garden features like trellises made from bike wheels, bottle screens and “flower” hub-caps and also for wildlife-friendly growing techniques.

However, Windmill desperately needs a warm indoor space that we can use for all our learning, growing and craft activities in the Winter and when it's wet. At the moment, we use our polytunnel, which really isn't warm enough and gets holes pecked in the roof by the local crows, so it can be a bit drippy when it rains! It's also a waste of good growing space. We are here for everyone in the community but we're very aware that some of our older and younger members, and those more vulnerable with health issues, tend not to come when it's cold and wet because we don't have somewhere comfortable.

We are often the next step for people in the community who are having a problem in their lives but are now at the stage where the mainstream health and social services want them to take up community opportunities. We've found we have an increasing number of volunteers coming to us for this reason. We're also getting a reputation as a safe space for those in emerging communities and refugees and this project will allow them to share their skills and knowledge whilst giving a chance to socialise with the wider community. A lot of those using our project would like to increase their skills and confidence to eventually go on to paid work. Some of our volunteers are on the autistic spectrum and this project will be a gateway to improving their social and physical skills through practical activities which will appeal to them.

We pride ourselves on doing things sustainably, so we are looking to build the training shed using mainly waste and re-used wood which will be very highly insulated so it shouldn't need additional heating. It will also have rain-water collection and a solar panel to provide electricity.

We have a design from an expert who can help us to make sure the finished article looks great and we intend to use the build to provide experience for our volunteers, students on building-related courses and interested members of the community.

The finished space will be used for workshops, training, processing our plants and seeds and for running gardening club activities. It will be a draw for new volunteers, and make our work with schools less weather dependent.

We have included the costs of all the materials in the bid to ensure we have sufficient funds to complete it. However, our sustainability ethos means we will be using reused and recycled resources wherever possible. This may reduce the final cost of the project, in which case we can return unspent funds.

Windmill Community Gardens

Although we have enabled many of our local community volunteers to improve their health, it's their efforts which have made the gardens what they are. They have worked hard to create a beautiful, peaceful & eco-friendly community garden in the heart of the city that this warm space will complete.

Location: Nottingham NG8 5HD, UK