The One Show’s Christine Walkden is heading a national campaign aimed at securing the survival of Britain’s struggling community gardening groups.
Christine teamed-up with Katie Rushworth of ITV’s Love Your Garden, and TV chef Mark Greenaway, to launch the Local Heroes initiative.
The trio want amateur gardeners to get involved with community gardens as visitors, customers, volunteers or business partners. Many community groups, they say, “face a struggle to make ends meet”.
It is estimated that there are more than 2,500 community growing groups in the UK, including community gardens, community orchards, therapeutic and children’s gardens, and city farms.
A recent survey found that nearly half of community growing groups often ran at a loss, and the majority felt that the success of their project relied on grant funding.
Christine said: “With the declining availability of funding and grants for community gardening, pressure is on groups to become self-supporting.
“This is possible if everyone pulls together and recognises they have skills that are useful to groups. We [gardeners] are not good at communicating our needs and opportunities are often missed.”
Asked how gardeners could back the campaign, Christine explained: “I would love it if people went to their local groups and offered time and skills. This could be a supporting hand at harvest time, producing a poster, contacting a garden centre or shop asking for soiled stock, or chatting to someone who is lacking in experience and sharing knowledge and skills.”
To find out about becoming a Local Hero, visit www.growingtogether.community.