We formed in 2014 to bring local people and community groups together. Belville Community Garden is known as the local spot for food growing, organising events, breaking down social barriers and improving our wellbeing. We help to combat social exclusion and loneliness, and offer a project to get stuck into. We provide a beautiful garden to those who don't have one at home. It gives us a real sense of pride and belonging.
In 2016-17 we received a grant from the Climate Challenge Fund to reduce emissions by growing healthy, sustainable food locally. This sparked our cookery classes and more, and enabled us to work with people with disabilities and autism. From pedal-powered smoothies to community meals, we've done it all!
We take inspiration, knowledge and expertise from the local community. Belville Community Garden hires one full-time manager, 7 part-time staff and a range of local employment scheme spaces, but we wouldn't be here if not for fantastic volunteers and resources shared by the local community.
We are open to everyone with no charge, and here are some of the things we have created at Belville Community Garden:
• Biodiversity Garden: There are bug hotels, soil mounds for critters to build a home in, a nectar bar for pollinators to grab a drink... what more could invertebrates ask for? The log pile is made with reclaimed wood. We even have viewing benches in the wildflower meadow for visitors to get a feel for life as an insect.
• Children's Garden: Delayed due to the pandemic, but this space will give local little ones a beautiful space to learn and play.
• The Pod: A converted shipping container serving as the garden's hub, and a workspace when the weather isn't so good. This functioned as our main office when we first set up the garden.
• Fruit and vegetable growing: these will get used in our cookery classes and for community distribution. We also make great preserves!
• Community Allotment: a recently-developed space for people to grow their own produce as part of a community.
• Events: Green Gyms, cookery, school growing projects, employment schemes, woodworking skills for volunteers... there's something for everyone, or you could plan your own event!
• Sensory Garden: A glorious mixture of colourful sights and sweet smells, where you might catch the sound of buzzing bees and other insect wings on the fly.
• Reflection Pond: Coming soon! Think pond dipping, wondrous aquatic wildlife, and a quiet space to reflect.
An idea that starts out as one thing can become much more with input from everyone. We are inspired by everyone in the community and our ideas grew the garden into what it is today. And there's more to come...!
Volunteers are vital. Without the kindness of people sharing their time and resources, we'd be in a very different place.