A weekly community garden project for the over-60s will restart this April following a successful funding bid.
Thyme Together, launched by Englefield’s Five A Day Market Garden last year, was created to provide both experienced and novice gardeners over the age of 60 with the opportunity to learn more about gardening in a social and informal environment.
After a hugely popular first season, the scheme has been awarded a £9,575 grant from the Berkshire Community Foundation securing the continuation of the weekly seasonal sessions for the next two years.
Established in 2009 and located in the village of Englefield, the Five A Day Market Garden has become a productive not-for-profit community initiative. A team of around 25 green fingered volunteers maintains the garden and runs team building events, community education projects, eco craft courses and garden tours.
The Thyme Together spring and summer course will be held once a week from Tuesday 10th April until Tuesday 31st July and will be run by a team of dedicated volunteers from the Five A Day Market Garden team.
The idea for the scheme came from former project co-ordinator Pam Goddard, who wanted to encourage all members of the community to enjoy the garden.
Yvonne Redgrave, who became Five A Day’s new project co-ordinator in January, said: “Our Thyme Together sessions are a wonderful opportunity for older people to learn and share a love of gardening.
“We hope they will appeal to people who may have been lifelong gardeners who perhaps don’t have the space, time or energy to grow everything they would like to grow at home, as well as people who may be looking to explore a new interest.
“Our garden at Englefield is such a lovely place and provides a wonderful, tranquil space to enjoy gardening, learning from one another and, most importantly, enjoying each other’s company.”
Yvonne added: “The funding is crucial to us being able to run the project which makes a real difference to people’s lives, especially those people who may be feeling isolated.
“I was so happy when I found out we’d been awarded the funding, I almost jumped for joy!”
For two days a week the garden, which is open for 11 months of the year, sells affordable, seasonal produce and flowers to provide healthy food for the community and subsidise its social enterprise courses.
Edward Crookes, Estates Director at Englefield Estate, said: “It is fantastic news that Thyme Together has been awarded funding which will secure its continuation for another two years and we hope older members of our community will be inspired to get out and enjoy gardening and make new friends with like-minded people.”