CHP staff volunteer at Gosport garden alongside Partners

On 31 August, in extremely wet weather, ORM Lee Williams and Regional Director Simon Waters donned their waterproofs and wellies and headed off to Gosport to volunteer at The Willow Incredible Garden operated by local gardening group Love Outdoors. Volunteering alongside Lee and Simon were Rachael Smart from the Willow Group at Brune Medical Centre, Emma Kemp from Love Outdoors, Rachael Samain from gbpartnerships, Jess Bundy from NHS Hampshire & Isle of Wight ICB and Sharon Roper from OCS.

The Willow Garden was created on an under-utilised area of grass, in the grounds of Forton Road Medical Centre, Gosport. Community gardening group, Love Outdoors saw an opportunity to transform this area into a community garden.

In June 2022, the garden was officially launched, and plans were drawn up to create two elements to the garden.

  • A formal growing and sensory garden. This section provides a structured space for cultivating plants and engaging the senses. It offers a serene escape where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of horticulture and experience the therapeutic benefits of interacting with nature.
  • A more informal relaxation and nature garden which encourages relaxation and connection with the wilder side of the natural world. It’s a place for quiet contemplation, where the beauty of nature takes centre stage.

The team spent half a day digging holes to plant trees to create a wind break for the community garden. The plan is that the community garden will become part of social prescribing in the Gosport area, with patient groups using the garden and helping to develop it.

The longer term plan is that they will harvest the fruit and veg that’s been grown there and take them to Jacobs Well Foodbank to provide food for homeless people.

Through this volunteering exercise and the links made, Lee is now working with the gardening group to develop a community garden at Brune.

I really am inspired by the volunteering efforts at Gosport. Communities are fantastic things to be part of and there are no limits to what is possible. Discussions on how this garden alone has impacted so many people really touched me, from people building new relationships, to giving people confidence and long lasting friendships. It provides routine and opportunities to the loneliest people in our communities. The great thing about it being a garden is that people can take away healthy vegetables without judgement knowing that even the hardest hit families can have fruit and vegetables.

The garden is really testament to what can happen if different organisations work together for the benefit of the community. We are really proud of what we have achieved so far so I am beyond happy to read your comments. This is of course a team effort, and without our dedicated volunteers we would not be in the position we are today.

I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to get involved and contribute to this amazing project. It really is an incredible community garden that has enchanted the local community, grown and flourished in such a short time. I am so inspired by the development and potential of this kind of project benefitting such a broad and diverse part of the local community.

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Find out more Buildings at the Heart of the Community

CHP’s Buildings at the Heart of the Community initiative aims to encourage local community groups and charities to make the most of our buildings by enabling the use of space in our centres to host health and wellbeing related events.

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