Community and Volunteers – May 2021

This has been an active few months even though it has been punctuated by unseasonal weather and ongoing uncertainty about Covid regulations. However RA-C , aided by Community 360 has helped to to get many of our clients and volunteers vaccinated and we all feel a bit more safe.

Work at the Big Garden has continued once a week for young men but attendance dwindled owing to Ramadan and we hope it will now build up again – the men enjoy it and there are lots of jobs to be done. One very committed big gardener returned to his paid job as a barber in April and hopes to attend on his day off, when his work routine settles. One of the new, and necessary, jobs is to prepare a growing bed for the surplus plants of those who are growing at home, as the Together We Grow at Home project is continuing from last year and seeds and compost were distributed a few weeks ago.

Growers are sharing pictures of their seedlings but growth has been affected adversely by the temperatures and now planting out is being affected by cold and wind. The great thing is that this is met with fortitude and some, women particularly, are enjoying solving their growing problems. One new client from Bangladesh who has a totally concrete yard is successfully growing in a collection of tin tubs, tyres and plastic containers and has vine like plants climbing up supports made by, amongst other things, the side of an old baby’s cot. Wayne and I have visited twice with advice, seeds and more compost. Our Uighur friend has also received more heavy duty compost for the growing bed which we constructed with her and her family last year. Befrienders are supporting their families with the growing and we will start Zoom sessions next week.

We have now had 5 Forest Schools, one having had to be cancelled because of torrential rain. On May 15th it was damp and muddy but a good time was had by all and the new heavy duty tent, Tim purchased with our funds from CBC, was erected and used. Volunteers and families are loving being back in the woods.

The exhibition at First Site, ‘My Name is Not Refugee’ reopens today, until June 6th. Do make a visit and look up the videos on the First Site website, in the Online Studio.

We are organising a children and family day in the outdoors (still by invitation in order to keep numbers within Covid regulations)  during half term which will include a time in High Woods and a visit to the Big Garden. We hope that the young men will show the visitors what they have done in the garden over the past 6 months and the children will do some planting and watering. We will all share food which will be cooked on our new equipment by some of the clients. This is part of our wish to involve the clients in the organisation of activities, which those who are settled clearly want to do. Some are in the process of becoming volunteers themselves.

Various projects are in the planning stage and these will be for our next newsletter and I am negotiating the possibility of premises for our Community Meetings in the Autumn. The first big one on July 2nd will be a picnic in a park.

Best Wishes,