Making a blooming marvellous difference
One year into the project
Blooming Marvellous launched in October 2009. Below is an article from their team on how they've been getting along so far.
We meet three afternoons a week and engage wholeheartedly in gardening activities with the main aim of building service user self-confidence and giving something back to the community.
At the project our service users are given the chance to grow vegetables on our allotment, provide gardening services to the local community and improve their skills through training and social activities. We work collaboratively with our service users to identify their skills and goals, organising the appropriate training and levels of support required; Ali, a service user, said, ‘‘It has enriched my life in many ways – I’m glad I found out about it.’’
During the past year the group has achieved some great things. We’ve supported the personal development of 45 volunteers, established our allotment and transformed many gardens in the local community. This has been awarded with much positive community feedback, including ‘‘I can not stress enough how pleased my mother (93) is with her garden...and the very worthwhile service you provide for the elderly.’’
We think our biggest achievement is the support we’ve given to our volunteers and the reported improvements in their confidence and self-esteem. Plus, over 50percent of people who have moved on from the project have moved into jobs, college or into other volunteering opportunities.
Delighting local residents
In this year alone we’ve had 53 requests for help and, despite the cold wet winter, we’ve completed 24 visits to community gardens throughout Rushmoor. We were able to respond to all other queries with information, advice and/or referred them to more appropriate support.
We’ve also been working in partnership with other local organisations, helping to improve green spaces in deprived areas. Together our work has amounted to over 500 volunteer hours of 'giving back’ to the local community!
The commitment and dedication of our volunteers has meant that things at the allotment are really flourishing. We have a new seating area, a robust tool box and a flower garden, as well as individual plots growing all manner of fruit, flowers and vegetables. The allotment has been such a success that we’ve out grown the original plot and are currently developing a further one to accommodate everyone.
We’ve participated in several local events, including the Rushmoor ‘Green and Global’ Fun Day, where we helped the families and children of Rushmoor to build bees' nests. We’ve also participated in local and county wide Mental Health Forums.
We’ve had a fantastic year, with some really positive results! To find out more about Blooming Marvellous visit our blog and read below how Paul, one of our volunteers, won three prizes for his hard work.
-Blooming Marvellous team