Green shoots offering hope at community gardens and allotment

published on 26 Aug 2020

During lockdown, many of our churches’ green spaces have been put to good use for the benefit of their local communities as places to reflect, relax, to enjoy gardening and grow their own produce.

The gardens and allotment at Sale Corps are tended by volunteers and they’ve provided a safe, welcoming environment in recent months where people have been able to learn about growing plants and vegetables and to sit and enjoy nature.

Local residents are also offered a share in an allotment plot for free, on the understanding that 30 per cent of what they grow will be donated to struggling families or individuals who need fresh produce.

Penrith Corps has partnered up with Penrith Community Gardeners to grow beautiful flowers and vegetables in its gardens and it also uses the space creatively to help people consider their faith and life issues.

Our garden has offered opportunities for people to meet safely and be still.
Major Carole Donaldson, corps officer at Sale Salvation Army

Church members and volunteers have continued to care for the garden during lockdown while following social distancing guidance.

“Our garden has offered opportunities for people to meet safely and be still. During these difficult months, people have paused to look at our ‘living’ cross, which has bloomed with honeysuckle & clematis plants. People are also welcome to come and take away free produce by arrangement”, said corps officer Major Carole Donaldson.

“For us, our garden is a reminder that nothing stops our Father God - it is a reflection of our church with its roots deep in Him and a place of awesome transformation.”

Meanwhile, in the Forest of Dean, they have had to call in feathered reinforcements to keep the weeds down in the garden of the corps building which is an old public house in the village of Broadwell.

“We have a great little pub garden in the Forest of Dean which is used to grow seasonal veg and fruit to use in the hub kitchen and to teach families how to grow their own and cook healthily with 'plot to pot' sessions” said Major Vivienne Prescott of The Salvation Army in the Forest of Dean.

“But during lockdown we have not been able to have our regular gardener in to keep the weeds down, so we have invested in a team of four lovely chickens to help with this. We rescued four battery hens destined for slaughter and they now reside in the hub garden and are keeping things ticking over nicely for us as well as providing scrummy eggs. Their feathers are now beginning to re-grow and they are enjoying their free-range lifestyle to the max.”

Mother and daughter playing with a toy

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