Micro Fund Grant to Sunrise Community Garden

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Sunrise Community Garden in partnership with The Arts Factory

The organisation was established in July 2019 as a voluntary community-based gardening group that help and teach people of all ages and from all walks of life. The Founders of the Group – Steven and Perry were talking about gardening in the Old Library in Ferndale one day in 2019 and decided to set up a Garden for the Community to grow food.

Through chatting to others and before we knew it there were 7 people on our Committee: we have not looked back.

They spoke with The Fern Partnership and they asked Meriel Gough from Interlink RCT and Pen y Cymoedd Community Wind Farm Supporting Communities Team to come and support them to set up their Group including:

Forming Constitution

Developing Policies

Volunteering information

Insurance support

Connecting with others in area

Joining Interlink RCT

Opening a Bank Account

Identifying Training needs and training providers

We have not looked back, our Committee Members had the support of the Ferndale HWB – they helped us find and attend courses to learn about gardening, bush cutting, strimming, Health and Safety and COSHH.

We have carried out extensive work to clear the garden area: including dismantling a porta cabin, clearing, and levelling the area. We have also re-used a lot of the material from the area to provide drainage for the area in which we will position the raised beds.

We needed the first amount of money to get things up and running e.g., Insurance costs and basic tools: Interlink’s Community Development grant of £500 started us off. With Meriel’s support we were then able to get a grant of £3,800 from Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund. This was an exciting step for us and enabled us to provide the secure concrete shed in which to house our tools, the hard-core areas on which to position the Shed, a Greenhouse, the pathways, and the raised beds.

Just before Lockdown 2020 we received support from Keep Wales Tidy including Shed, compost bin, tools, seeds, 3 heavy duty seats/ benches. Jessie Longstaff from Keep Wales Tidy has been helping us with planting by laying the pre-seeded wildflower carpet.

The main lesson we have learnt is to keep talking to the local groups and local people: there is so much interest in what we are doing up here and so much support for groups that have a good idea!” – Steven Griffiths, Sunrise Community Garden

They continue to be supported by Interlink, Keep Wales Tidy and the Arts Factory. The Arts Factory have employed a Garden and a Project Coordinator, and they applied for the funding for this post and more new tools, shovels, chairs, and a wheelbarrow.

The group have now planted carrot seeds, sprouting potatoes, onions, herbs, and flower bulbs. The flowers are starting to blossom. Five new women are joining them to learn how to grow food and have registered as volunteers.

We do not have any funding needs now: we are looking forward to our first full growing season with new volunteers and a gardener supporting us. We are hoping to get the garden open for local people to view by August /September. The Arts Factory are getting shirts made up for us – with a logo and our names on – so people can identify us. The Community is coming together – the feedback has been tremendous, local people come to see what we are doing, the training programme will continue to support volunteers learning. Full steam ahead now, thank you very much” Steven Griffiths and Volunteers.