The garden at Roker URC

The large garden at Roker URC is one of the very few green spaces in St Peter’s ward other than Roker Park which is council owned. As such it is heavily used during the summer hosting children’s holiday activities and is also used by the children associated with the church.

We (Helen Stephenson our CRCW and I) were approached last year by CEED (a Sunderland based environmental charity to agree to support an application for grant funding they were about to submit to Sunderland Council to re-arrange part of our garden into a community facility with raised beds.

The idea for this had initially come from one of our active partners the Social Chef, David Robinson, who runs a social enterprise encouraging healthy eating through cookery & baking classes. CEED loved the idea of linking vegetable plots in the raised beds with healthy eating linked also to our holiday hunger work with children.

They had a grant of £2000 approved which will cover 25 sessions, all delivered by young people under supervision, starting in May and finishing in September to create the raised beds and improve the surrounding area of the garden.

We hope to get young refugees and asylum seekers engaged in the project through our strong links with FODI, Friends of the Drop in, whom we have worked with for the last year. So we expect that the garden will be tamed in one difficult to manage area leaving a still large space to enjoy, creating a unique community resource, engaging young people who will in the main have had no links to the church, and supporting mental & physical well being in our community. A win-win all round!

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