Edible community garden shortlisted for award

Saunders Park is the home of a new edible community garden
Saunders Park is the home of a new edible community garden

An edible community garden in Brighton has been named a finalist in a national awards.

The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership transformed a neglected area of parkland into Saunders Park Edible Garden, with the support of £8,000 funding from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.

With help from volunteers and after more than 350 hours of work, it provides the community with a safe and vibrant space, bursting with edible plants and food.

The garden has since become one of three finalists in the Groundwork Awards for Best Community Garden in the Country.

The £8,000 donation from Tesco Brighton enabled volunteers to make improvements such as renovating the existing pond, building a new seating area, invigorating the orchard, creating new raised beds, and planting over 50 varieties of edible plants and herbs. ,

Rosie Linford, community gardener from the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, said: “The project has transformed lives, and the money from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme, as well as our tireless volunteers are a big contribution to that.

“Volunteers have formed supportive friendships, and the group includes local residents and people in recovery from serious mental health issues and addictions. Local residents now feel safe walking through the park and go out of their way to walk through and see how the garden is doing. The seating area is now being used for families picnicking and individuals relaxing and the park has become a new community haven.”

Craig Brown, store director at Tesco Brighton, said: “It is wonderful to see this project come to fruition, showing first-hand how a Bags of Help grant can help transform the communities which we serve.

“Along with the new and improved community space, the project is providing fortnightly gardening groups for vulnerable adults and local residents, reaching over 100 people directly, with hundreds more benefitting from improvements to the park.

“Most of our colleagues and customers live locally so to be able to watch these projects come to life is the best part. We’re always keen to invest in the local community and the Bags of Help scheme is a great way in which we can work with customers to do this.”

The Food Partnership advise more than 600 people each year about volunteering in gardens across Brighton and Hove, with high numbers of enquiries in central areas which couldn't be matched to a project, particularly from vulnerable adults who need higher levels of support.

Anyone can nominate a project for Bags of Help funding at any time – whether it’s Tesco customers, colleagues or the community groups themselves, here.