A community project which brings together residents living on a Tyneside estate through gardening and improving green spaces has been launched.
The ‘Garden Neighbours’ project in Elswick is looking for willing volunteers to participate in the weekly sessions which will encourage residents to develop new friendships, work together, learn new skills and overcome perceived barriers.
Karbon Homes, which owns and manages homes on the Mill Farm Close estate in Elswick, has invested £5,000 to deliver the eight-month project across three estates.
Community gardeners will run mini-garden makeovers on the Mill Farm Close, Bentinck and Jubilee estates and will get involved in digging over beds, planting new flowers, freshening up hanging baskets, as well as general garden tidy-ups and offering advice on how to improve and maintain gardens.
The sessions will run weekly every Monday between 10am and 12pm (except bank holidays) and ‘Tidy Up and Plant’ community events will be organised during the school holidays, focussing on litter picks, planting pots to take home or planting up hanging baskets.
The project is part of the Edible Elswick partnership run from the West End Women and Girls Centre, which was developed with input from local women who attend cookery and gardening groups. Edible Elswick aims to raise capacity within the local community to get involved in growing and planting activities, increase pride and ownership of the local environment, break down barriers between communities and support healthy eating and lifestyles.
Lindsey Porter, Community Involvement Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “Here at Karbon, our aim is take an active role in shaping the communities and places where our residents live. The Elswick Garden Neighbours project has run similar projects already so we were keen to support this new initiative which we hope will benefit some of our residents too.
“We believe this project will encourage residents to come forward and engage but also open up a relationship with neighbours who they may not have met or talked to before. The project will be fun and engaging and we hope it will make a big difference to this local community.”
Johurun Nessa, Edible Elswick Development Worker, said: “We were delighted to gain the recognition and support of Karbon Homes as they saw the real potential in what the Garden Neighbours project can offer. Through this project, we are working on the ground, connecting people to one another, from all backgrounds, seeing community cohesion develop, all the while helping to improve gardens and green spaces, creating nicer places to live.”