Torbay gardening scheme digging in to support local families

Volunteer-led gardening scheme Gardens and Greens, supported by Sanctuary Housing, is using the fruits of its labours to help feed struggling Torbay residents with its produce.

A volunteer-led gardening scheme is using the fruits of its labours to help feed struggling Torbay residents with its produce.

Green-fingered volunteers at the Gardens and Greens project, which is supported by Sanctuary Housing, grow vegetables from carrots to potatoes along with berries that are used to make jams.

From this year, the gardening scheme will be growing fruit and veg for the local community to buy at a low price while monthly donations will also be given to the local food bank, community centres and churches to help families living on the breadline.

Gardens and Greens, managed by Hele’s Angels, also aims to help volunteers seeking work to develop their horticultural skills and CV in a bid to boost their employment prospects.

Adding a helping hand this year will be Watcombe Scouts, students from South Devon College, volunteers from Age UK and local schoolchildren, who are set to join regulars in digging out beds and nurturing plants.

Lynne Roberts, Sanctuary Housing’s neighbourhood partnerships manager for Torbay, said: “It’s great to see worthy projects we invest in expand to help the wider community. By supporting volunteer-led projects like Gardens and Greens, we can also enable residents to develop more skills, which can improve their chances of finding work.”

Steven Gratton, Gardens and Greens project coordinator at Hele’s Angels, added: “A lot will be happening with Gardens and Greens this year as the Torquay Academy site will become a nursery and educational facility where we will grow produce for the local community to buy from, and provide qualifications for volunteers to work towards. We are keen to attract more volunteers, so if anyone wants to get involved in this highly worthwhile community garden project, please get in touch.”

Gardens and Greens has transformed overgrown land into community gardens around Torbay neighbourhoods including the bank off Truro Avenue, which has become the Truro Bank Project, and two parcels of land off Hele Road, which are now the Neighbourhood Gateway Project and The Orchard Project.

Funding for the project comes from Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, which supports projects that benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Gardens and Greens should contact Steven Gratton at Hele’s Angels on 01803 312808.