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Community Garden graduates look back to their roots

A south Sefton project which has been helping local volunteers to learn horticultural skills held a special event recently to celebrate the success of its graduates.

Regenerus, Bootle-based organisers of the Taking Root Project, hosted a picnic lunch and presentation ceremony at a community garden at Marian Way in Netherton to salute the achievements of the 26 participants aged from ten to 66.

The project was established by the regeneration specialists with the help of an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Since December last year it has been working with local groups at Marian Way, Netherton Park Neighbourhood Centre and the Gateway Collective in North Park, Bootle.

Taking Root Co-ordinator Christine Leung has supported volunteers with designing and setting up their community gardens, and also delivered training to help participants learn how to grow fruit and vegetables.

Working with partners the Feelgood Factory in Netherton, the Taking Root Project has also developed a new learning module – accredited through Open Awards – which has been specially designed to reflect the range of skills that participants can gain through gardening.

According to Christine Leung, the feedback from everyone who has been involved in Taking Root has been positive:

“As well as getting active and making new friends, our participants say that helping to establish new community gardens has given them real personal satisfaction.

“The project has also given everyone the opportunity to grow and eat their own food, and to gain a qualification recognising the skills they’ve acquired, which they’re obviously delighted about.”

Ruth Livesey of Regenerus added:

“A project like this one is about so much more than simply learning gardening skills.

“It’s also about upgrading the local environment, connecting people in local communities, boosting confidence and improving the general health and wellbeing of everyone who takes part.

“We’re very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for their support, and to the participants for the commitment and enthusiasm they’ve shown throughout the programme.  They should all be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”