If you’ve visited College Green recently, you may have noticed new flowers in the planters outside The Monk’s Kitchen and even some vegetable plants beginning to shoot. That’s because, every Wednesday morning, volunteers from across the Diocese meet at Gloucester Cathedral to care for the gardens and develop their life and social skills.
Supporting and helping vulnerable or homeless people to develop as individuals is an integral part of the mission of Gloucester Cathedral. The Gardening for Wellbeing group was formed through a partnership with the Independence Trust, a local charity that supports people in strengthening their emotional and physical wellbeing. The aim of the group is to enable adults of all abilities to develop learn more about gardening, build community and achieve qualifications in basic skills.
Lizzy Hathaway-White, Community Engagement and Participation Officer at Gloucester Cathedral, says, “The group has done brilliant work in the Cathedral grounds, but it’s about more than gardening – it’s a great way for participants to meet like-minded people and learn new skills, and in recognition of all that they do here, each member is registered as a Cathedral volunteer, whether that’s as a member of the group or as a lead supporting the work.
“The group is open to absolutely anyone to join and has been particularly appreciated by those who are looking for a way to boost their health and wellbeing. It’s a lovely, relaxed environment.
“This year the group has planted hundreds of sunflower seeds and installed bamboo wigwams for runner beans and sweet peas outside the Monk’s Kitchen café, among many other things. Last autumn, they planted 1,500 daffodil and tulip bulbs around the Cathedral, which have been bringing a lovely pop of colour to the grounds.”
The group members also can work towards AQA certificates in a variety of mini qualifications from life skills, such as making hot drinks using a kettle, to community skills, such as mentoring and role modelling, and also basic gardening skills, preparing spaces and planting bulbs. There’s also a certificate for completing work experience at a local church.
Lizzy says, “It takes a lot of work to keep the areas around Gloucester Cathedral looking their best. The group gets such a lot done in the time they are here, it really is amazing to see how they have transformed the space and, most importantly, to see how much they love being part of it.”
If you are interested in joining or know someone who could benefit from being part of the group, please email ku.gr1695314507o.lar1695314507dehta1695314507crets1695314507ecuol1695314507g@noi1695314507tpece1695314507r1695314507 or call 01452 528095.
Did you know that running groups like this in your worshipping community is part of the ‘Community and Global’ category for an Eco Church Award? Find out more about signing up for Eco Church here: Eco Church in an hour