The Wantage Market Garden Project is run by WCSS (Oxfordshire County Council) in partnership with Sustainable Wantage (an environmental community group) and Style Acre (an Oxfordshire based charity who work with adults with learning disabilities and autism)
The project is based in the grounds of the Wantage Community Support Services building where the garden had previously been used to grow container plants for sale but had become unusable. About 1/3 acre in size, the site was difficult to manage by just one group and the day centre invited other groups to join in the management of the garden as a partnership project in order to bring the garden back into life.
In the early stages of the project, Style Acre provided funding and lots of volunteers to re-cover the poly tunnels, make raised beds and make the garden safe.
Sustainable Wantage brought in funding from VWHDC to pay for the compost toilet and other essential items, as well as lots of willing volunteers who worked at the garden on weekends . Since then, many grants, plant sales, open days, gardening from service users and their support workers and thousands of volunteer hours later, the garden has been turned into the beautiful, productive, safe, and healing environment it is now.
During the week, people supported by Style Acre or WCSS use the garden for a range of therapeutic activities and gardening sessions. Gardening has so many benefits – it enables people we support to have ownership of projects to build self-esteem, develop their practical skills and be part of a wider team.
Opportunities in the garden:
Winter is now here and we are back into lockdown! As a result, the garden is closed to volunteers for the time being. Hopefully, we will be able to welcome visitors back to the garden by the spring.
In normal times, people come to pick flowers, do crafts, or simply just wander and enjoy. At the weekends, the garden is open to the community for local people to garden, do DIY, socialise and de-stress. Some of those who come on Sundays are keen gardeners, happy to help and impart their wisdom, some are novice gardeners who want to learn more, and others who do not have a garden but appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the space and chat. Those who attend the garden either during the week or at weekends leave, not only with freshly picked produce, but more relaxed and with a sense of achievement.
For any enquiries please contact:
Olwen Barlow (firstname.lastname@example.org) Market Garden Co-ordinator for Sustainable Wantage
Sarah Griffiths (email@example.com) Garden Co-ordinator for Style Acre
Emily Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) Garden Co-ordinator for WCSS