The Community Garden St Albans Project is an exciting development aiming to help local communities and promote community cohesion
The Community Garden in St Albans is one of CDA Herts (Community Development Action Hertfordshire) projects. It is an exciting development aiming to engage diverse local communities to promote community cohesion and wellbeing. The Garden has been developed for communities to have their own garden areas to provide a safe space to enjoy working and supporting each other. It also welcomes other organisations and groups, helps provide advice to the garden users and uses the garden to support other charities. Oaklands College kindly provided the land in 2010.
Our established groups include St Albans Adult Learning Services, HAWA (Herts Asian Women’s Association), Hertbeats (St. Albans and District Cardiac Support Group), FoodSmiles, St Albans Child Minders, St Albans Beekeepers, Hill End and the Scouts.
The diverse communities work together, share information and support each other not only in the world of gardening but about their services. It gives us no end of satisfaction and pleasure being the catalyst for such a fantastic activity of bringing together people and communities. Outreach to new groups include:
- Older people including those who no longer have their own gardens (for example living in sheltered accommodation or care homes) but retain an interest in gardening providing an opportunity for older people to get out and tackle social isolation
- People who report that their day to day activities are limited by their disability
- Minority ethnic groups including St Albans’ significant Bangladeshi community
- Single parent families and single people
- Increasing referrals from health providers
- Creating new growing areas and access paths catering for users with a range of physical abilities
- Organising annual events to celebrate the achievements of existing users and the produce they have grown, and to promote the site to new users and the general public
- Faciliating evening sessions for various groups including Passport to Leisure/Daylight Club, Czechs & Slovaks, St Albans Woodcraft Folk, Woodcraft Group.
We have welcomed a School referral unit tutor and student. The programme was designed to achieve City and Guilds qualification for the students. Also a university student worked in the garden and was awarded a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. We have also facilitated the Youth Connexion project.
HACRO (Herts Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders) team and Groundwork have enjoyed working in the garden learning skills to qualify for their City and Guilds certificate.
We have also been very lucky in being selected as one of community partners in the National Citizens Service (NCS) program. This is an exciting program for 15 – 17 years old that lasts 3 to 4 weeks. In the social phase of the program the Community Garden has been selected to be one of the community projects.
We are greatly assisted by our weekly volunteers and our “plantsman” Brian Gibson, Life president of Hertbeats.
In November 2018 we won the National Groundwork Community Award in Group 6, Best Community Group Contribution to Community Cohesion category
We have been greatly supported both in funding & support by TESCO, Waitrose, Premier Foods, Santander, Nationwide, PwC, Herts County Council & Tarmac. We have also worked in partnership with Groundwork on their 14 week Green Team project, Alex Laurie (St Albans Landscape & Aboriculture) to plant/maintain our edible hedge, Highfield Trust Park and Helping Hands.
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Location and Directions
The site is located in Hixberry Lane, off Colney Hatch Lane, St. Albans AL4 0TZ (Ordnance Survey Location is ‘517681, 206930′).
(Take the A1057 (Hatfield Road) from Hatfield towards St Albans. Just before you get to Oaklands College (on the right) turn left into Colney Heath Lane. You’ll see a brown sign to Earthworks on the right – follow those signs. At a roundabout (after a few hundred yards), go right (CH Lane goes left), bear left almost immediately (another roundabout) and, where the road bends to the right, turn left into Hixberry Lane. Continue for about three hundred yards and you’ll see a double gate on the right, go through the gate & you will travel past the Earthworks site. Just carry along the lane through a couple of gates and at the end you will see a small car park.)