Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham – one of the venues used for NAEE’s Hugh Kenrick Days visits – has been awarded significant grants from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund and the Heart of England Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund, to enable the continuation of a vital service for the community, therapeutic horticulture, during the Covid-19 crisis.
Thanks to the grants, the Community Garden has been able to restart the Therapeutic Horticulture project (martineau-gardens.org.uk/about-us/what-is-therapeutic-horticulture) which supports people from across Birmingham, in managing their mental health to improve wellbeing through the practice of gardening. Referred to as ‘volunteers’, many of the participants are vulnerable, socially isolated and living with long-term mental health issues. When lockdown began, government guidelines meant that the volunteers were unable to attend the gardens. For many, their regular visits to the gardens had become a ‘lifeline’ which provided the mental support they needed to keep healthy. The funding has meant that equipment and additional staff have been employed and the volunteers are now gardening in socially distanced pairs.
Tim Bruton, Trustee for Martineau Gardens said:
“This support means we can provide help at a time when it’s needed more than ever through the Covid-19 crisis. Though not yet open again to the public, Martineau Gardens is being well cared for and preserved for the wider community, thanks to the dedication of our much valued volunteers. The gardens are a green space much used by and cherished by the local community and we look forward to the time when we can re-open again. ”
Martineau Gardens is one of the longest running Community Gardens in Birmingham. When the City Council-run environmental centre closed in 1997, a group of local people came together to create a community garden that would stay open for free, for the public of Birmingham to visit and care for. Supporters included former staff, neighbours, Birmingham Friends of the Earth and members of the Martineau family. Today Martineau Gardens is a thriving independently run charity: volunteers (many of whom have mental health issues and learning disabilities) care for the Gardens, hundreds of school children and family groups come to learn about the environment and Birmingham people (now in their thousands) visit* the Gardens annually to enjoy its peace and tranquillity.
In June 2020, Martineau Gardens was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Martineau Gardens is also the name of the charity behind the Gardens and fundraises toward the management and further development of Martineau Gardens for all to enjoy.
*Covid-19 Statement: Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and during our temporary closure, Martineau Gardens remains closed to the public but volunteering via the Therapeutic Horticulture service has restarted. For the latest version of this statement, please go to: martineau-gardens.org.uk/2020/04/covid-19.