‘The Greenhouse Project’
Neighbours and Friends, Stu Olden & Pete Welsh co-founded Tadpole Garden Village (TGV) In Bloom. TGV is a brand-new garden village concept set on the northern outskirts of Swindon, a stones throw from the Cotswolds.
Peter Walsh and Stu Olden flanked by two volunteers
A strong community foundation, both Stu – Ex Army and Pete – Currently serving in the RAF, wanted to bring the community together through the RHS three pillars; Horticulture, Environment and Community. This concept would encourage people of all ages and abilities to take pride in where they live.
A community allotment plot saw the group grow on plants, fruit and vegetables for village planters, homeless soup kitchens, nursing homes and local charities. With two storms and two temporary greenhouses lost to the elements it was time for something with a bit more structure and space!
A £5,000 grant was successfully awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund which was set aside to build a greenhouse on the community allotment plot.
Our volunteers building the base on the unused allotment plot
Our volunteers worked the ground, built the base and created the look it has today. We wanted to appeal to all ages and abilities and prove that Gardening and an allotment was accessible to all.
The Greenhouse has a ramped access, our ‘living path’ is decorated with alpines and herbs and our rest area has space for a wheelchair to turn. Both were built with donated patio slabs that allows access to a wheelchair to run along the path. A local grant allowed us to purchase a custom-built ND Rhodes reduced mobility potting bench.
Although our plot is accessible to those with reduced mobility you will find small steps, stony ground or wood chippings. These allow people to improve their motor function and gives them progression.
Andy working on the reduced access path around the greenhouse
Though it’s not just the physical challenges. Mentally and socially the Gardening club allows interaction on the plot, it allows people the space and time for reflection, for quiet or for teamwork, for interaction – it simply gives people access to greenspace and a learning environment should they wish.
The National Lottery Funded Community greenhouse and allotment plot – ‘living’ path, ramp access, rest area and wheelchair accessible path
A project that cost an estimated £10,000 has been completed with funding, donations and kind offers from local businesses. More importantly it has been completed by a team of volunteers of all ages and abilities.
COVID may have slowed us down, but it hasn’t dampened our spirits!
The reduced mobility potting bench – custom made by NB Rhodes funded by the Wiltshire Community Fund