Stay at Home, Grow Your Own
Published on Monday, 11th May 2020
To support the wellbeing of Maldon District residents, a new community initiative was recently launched to encourage residents to ‘Stay at Home, Grow Your Own’.
To support the wellbeing of Maldon District residents, Maldon District Council, in partnership with Abberton Rural Training (ART) recently launched a new community initiative to encourage residents to ‘Stay at Home, Grow Your Own’.
Councillor Bryan Harker, Chairman of the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee and Livewell Member, said; “I am really pleased that this project has taken off so well after just two weeks, as it is really making a difference to the lives of those who are participating. This really would not have been possible without the generous support of the partners who have helped both fund the project and the many volunteers”.
In less than 24 hours after the initiative launched on Monday 20 April, 68 Maldon District residents who were either key workers or individuals experiencing financial difficulty or with a physical or mental health condition applied for a free ‘Grow Your Own’ pack, exceeding the initially funded 50 packs by Maldon Livewell grant. Many highlighted inspiring and humbling reasons for applying, including wanting to eat more healthily, family wellbeing, providing focus, being more self-sufficient, getting outside for fresh air and vitamin D, being more active and alleviating anxieties.
In just two weeks after the launch, over 200 applications were registered and now all 250 packs have been applied for, predominantly by families who want to encourage their children to grow their own and to learn about health and nutrition. All applicants have been contacted regarding the receipt of their packs, and the first 100 packs are out for delivery! We look forward to monitoring how residents use their packs and hearing about the benefits brought to their physical and mental wellbeing and would like to encourage everyone taking part to complete the questionnaire on the Council’s website: www.maldon.gov.uk/GYOevaluation, plus share your home growing photos and tag us on social media, or send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since launching the project with the help of Public Health funding from Maldon District Council on behalf of Essex County Council, due to high interest and demand, the project has received additional match funding from Active Essex in addition to Phoenix Primary Care Network, Dengie and South Woodham Ferrers Primary Care Network and Blackwater Medical Centre, utilising the recently launched Community Wellbeing Fund from Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group. This is a fantastic and unique example of close partnership working, to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents at such a difficult time. This additional funding has enabled provision and postage of 200 additional Grow Your Own packs for Maldon District Residents.
Jacqui Stone, the Chief Executive of ART said, “We are thrilled with the funding support, it means we can get more Maldon residents growing their own. Perrywood Garden Centre has helped us to source compost and supplied us with seeds and the funding we have secured will cover the cost to the garden centres we are working with.
The project has proven to be popular because anyone can grow their own. Fowler, Smith & Jones have also joined the list of funders to support Abberton Rural Training to assist in the co-ordination of a wider project to support residents from right across the County to grow their own. It’s great to be able to support key workers, alongside other vulnerable groups, to help them keep healthy and develop their skills. Everyone can take part; we would really encourage people to go to www.abbertonruraltraining.org and visit our ‘Grow Your Own’ page to see how easy it is”
Due to high demand, Maldon District Council and Abberton Rural Training are delighted to be partnering with Maldon and District Community Voluntary Service to help deliver the packs with their community registered and verified volunteers.
Sarah Troop-Lasker, director of Maldon CVS, said “The Maldon District Coronavirus response is pleased to be able to support the Grow your Own initiative with volunteer drivers. We have been inundated with support from the community of people wanting to help and it is great they can support something that will have such a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing”
The hope is that residents in Maldon will benefit from the initiative immediately, residents who are waiting for their packs to arrive can start preparing their gardens by watching Abberton Rural Training YouTube channel. For those that have not been able to secure a pack the charity recommends that residents look at the free resources available as growing your own can be achieved without the packs, using seeds from food such as tomatoes and peppers, and using food packaging to propagate the seeds.
To get involved visit the easy to follow online tutorials on ART’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUyFo5KCPBLOvCbi0SIrMmQ and ART’s Website to access information and activity sheets www.abbertonruraltraining.org/gyo
If you are growing your own, please join Abberton Rural Training online community www.Facebook/abbertonruraltraining to help spread the word about how much better you are feeling for getting involved in growing your own.
Don’t forget to tag @MaldonDC and #livewell to encourage others to grow their own too!