A community gardening group in Woodford is working to fight loneliness one plant at a time.  

Woodford Community Garden was established after the Covid lockdowns and hoped to offer a way to encourage people who had been isolated and lonely to come into the community and get involved in a project which would incorporate both physical activity and socialising.  

A spokesperson from the group explained: “As well as tackling rural social isolation, our vision was to create a green, social space which included an educational hub celebrating biodiversity and sustainability, with a low carbon footprint. We were helped by a talented local gardener, who drew up a fabulous plan for us, consisting of several different phases.” 

Now, as they work through their three development phases, the group has become a hub of social activities.  

The phases, broken into three include:  

Phase 1 – Develop a vegetable garden.  

Phase 2 – Create a flower walk leading to an area where people can sit and be surrounded by glorious flowers, and their scent and colour.  

Phase 3 – Make a wildflower meadow to promote biodiversity and encourage wildlife into the area. 

With Phase 1 well underway, the group say it’s been a brilliant source of local produce.  

“The vegetable garden was tackled first and has been brilliant in providing fresh, local produce of all kinds – runner beans, broad beans, courgettes, squash, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, beetroot, potatoes, and many varieties of herbs,” a spokesperson continued.  

“The produce is available for local people to use as we put it out for collection as soon as it is harvested. The fact that it is grown so locally ensures it is as fresh as possible and reduces food miles, we do not have to head off to the shops to buy vegetables which have been transported to those shops from farms which are often a long distance away.” 

As well as the main group, organisers have recently created a ‘Kid’s Gardening Club’.  

“We always aim to spend a couple of sessions a week in the garden: planting, digging, weeding-all the tasks a productive garden requires. Members of the group come along as and when they can to join in, with other local people helping by saving vegetable peelings and adding to our compost bins, or by donating plants and seeds to be planted in the garden.  

“We also recently started a very successful ‘Kid’s Garden Club’ during the school holidays, to try and instil in the next generation a love for and knowledge of gardening. The chance for our local young and older generations to connect, learn from each other, develop communication skills, and simply have fun together is a joy to see!” 

More information about the project can be found on the group’s Facebook page or by emailing: [email protected]