Forthspring has a beautiful community garden at the back of the building. The garden is a fantastic resource for all the projects within Forthspring and for the local community, in particular since Covid-19 has made outdoor activity safer than indoor activity.
Gardening has many benefits including enhanced well-being, improved dexterity, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improved relaxation and satisfaction. It also provides social entertainment for those gardening in groups.
With funding from the National Lottery Covid Emergency Fund, Forthspring received funding for the garden to be adapted for much more regular use by Forthspring user groups and projects, allowing the organisation to adapt to both restrictions and opportunities caused by Covid-19 and to comply with relevant legislation. Gardening volunteers have been key to this development.
The garden is managed by a group of committed staff and volunteers who look after this important resource. This group consists of staff and volunteers from MUMO, Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) and Grow.
Good community garden practice and permaculture principles are embedded in the process of developing the garden (e.g. growing food for the local community, using and valuing local resources, producing no waste and encouraging wild areas). Springers delivered a gardening programme as part of the process of developing the garden, teaching about sustainable living, plants, herbs, seeds and elements necessary for plants to grow.
With a little bit of investment, the Forthspring garden has become an important outdoor resource for the Clonard/Woodvale areas, playing an important role in local biodiversity. The gardener’s group is key to this process.
MUMO delivers regular sessions during the annual Summer Scheme in the garden. In August 2022, MUMO delivered a community fun day with PPR and Grow which attracted 150 local residents. Springfield Primary School’s nursery unit is currently using the garden twice a month to support the children’s mental health wellbeing.
Forthspring appreciates the fantastic efforts of the original gardeners’ group who met before lockdown and managed the garden for years before the curent group of volunteers took over.