£260,000 awarded to Mayfield Nurseries community garden project

The National Lottery Community Fund, has awarded £260,000 to expand our Plants for People community gardening project over the next three years...

We are thrilled to announce that Mayfield Nurseries has been awarded £260,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to expand our Plants for People community gardening project to housing estates across the city over the next three years.

Plants for People combines community development work with gardening to make a lasting impact to people living on social housing estates in Southampton. The scheme is a joint initiative between Mayfield Nurseries (garden centre and mental health provider, subsidiary charity to Solent Mind) and Southampton City Council’s Housing Service, which manages over 16,000 homes in the city.

There are currently three successful community gardens in Maybush, Weston and Holyrood, for which Solent Mind presented the council with its External Partner Award last year. Pre-coronavirus pandemic, over 20 residents attended organised community gardening sessions at these locations every week.

The gardens have continued to flourish during the last year and have provided an valuable community asset during lockdown, giving residents who don’t have a garden the opportunity to enjoy some outside space on their doorsteps and benefit from socially-distanced interactions with their neighbours. The importance of inner city green space has become even more apparent during the national pandemic, which has also resulted in a growing public interest in community gardening and urban food growing for better health and wellbeing.

The National Lottery Community Fund money will enable four more community gardens to be established in Thornhill, Sholing, Weston and Shirley. Once these gardens are up and running, they will be open throughout the year, accessible to all ages and abilities, and residents will be able to drop in as and when they like, with gardening experts on hand to provide advice and training.

Daniel Angus Mayfield Nurseries Head of Social Enterprise, says: “We are encouraging residents to get involved with urban food growing across Southampton in 2021. The project aims to support a programme of healthier eating and improved nutrition across the city. Our intention is for residents to feel a sense of ownership towards their community gardens, we take their steer on what they want to see planted, it’s also an opportunity to inspire a new generation to see first-hand the benefits of gardening.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Southampton City Council, said: “Nothing gives us more pleasure than enabling Southampton residents to show pride in their communities, and the Plants for People project is a brilliant example of this ethos in action. This funding will enable us and Solent Mind to continue to expand the project, giving even more residents the chance to get healthy and to put their stamp on their city, especially at a time when many people are feeling at their lowest. Wherever you live in Southampton, please get involved and support these wonderful community gardens.”

Helen Bushell, Senior Head of Region for London, South East & East at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted to award this funding for the Plants for People project, which will provide more opportunities for people to come together and take ownership of local green spaces, learn new skills and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, projects such as this across the country are playing a vital role at the heart of their local communities, and will continue to do so as we rebuild and reconnect with one another throughout this year.”

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