Community Wildlife Garden

Introduction

The Community Wildlife Vegetable Garden is
a core facility and resource of the Pearce Coggan Foundation. The Garden is used by local schools, community service and individuals who all benefit from being in the environment. Volunteers always welcome!

 

The garden was created from a 0.24 hectare (0.6 acres) rough piece of farmland, leased on a peppercorn rent from Green Farm, that was initially cleared by the farm pigs.

Although the area is covered in dock and other "weeds", no chemicals are ever used in the garden

The development of the garden is with wildlife in mind

Objectives

  • An area to gain the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors and active.

  • A safe haven for people and wildlife

  • A place for relaxation, education & opportunity for all

  • A chance to learn where food comes from

  • Sell produce to help fund the garden

Users

  • Local volunteers, particularly those looking to de-stress

  • People with mental health problems, looking for a safe, quiet, outdoor working environment

  • Homewood School wellbeing program

  • Community Service Payback

What Our Users Say....

Wendy Brown: Student Well-being Coordinator, Homewood School

Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre has been taking groups of students every week to Green Farm Community Garden since 2017. The students are usually our more vulnerable children who have experienced bereavement, trauma, have SEND needs or are less privileged. Being able to go to the Community Garden and work in the fresh air, learning new skills and knowledge is beneficial to the students well-being and we have seen marked improvements in their emotional health.

Catherine makes the students feel welcome and makes sure all students have responsibilities within the garden which helps them feel they belong to the community. Students have completed several projects in the garden including a bug mansion, Logery and rock garden under Catherine's watchful eye. Catherine's previous experience in the teaching profession shows through as she shares her extensive knowledge of nature and wildlife with the students. As the weeks progress you can see the students confidence grow and their self esteem improves.

 

Martin and MaryAnn are committed to help vulnerable young people and are more than generous with sharing the facilities at Green farm and supporting our students anyway they can. We as a school are grateful for all the support they have given our young people and the invaluable positive impact this intervention has on our students.

 

Mrs Wendy Brown

Family Liaison Officer & Student Wellbeing Coordinator

What Our Users Say....

Helen Dowle: Volunteer and Community Garden User

What the Community Garden means to us as a family

 

We live in Shadoxhurst, just down the road from Green Farm Community Garden. I've been volunteering at the garden since Autumn 2017. I'm always made more than welcome by Catherine, Garden Manager, and owners Martin and Maryann Richmond-Coggan. After a spell volunteering in the garden I feel revitalised from spending time in the fresh air, I make a connection with people, both Catherine and other volunteers/apprentices, not to mention learning lots about gardening, farm life and wildlife.

 

My whole family has got involved in the garden. Our son Sam, who is 12 and has special needs sometimes comes to help, and has become an expert watering the beds in the summer! Also, Martin and Maryann designated a special area of the garden for Sam to tend to, so we prepared the whole bed together as a family and Catherine guided us in how to plant perennials and tend the bed. We had another son, Gabriel last year, and he loves coming down in his pushchair to the garden. He has spent the first year of his life watching what goes on in the garden, he knows everyone there and I hope he will get involved when he is a bit bigger!

 

Coming to the garden has become a regular part of his life. My husband, Matt, has also helped out and this summer we had the chance to volunteer all together as a family, using our different skills to help out. It truly was idyllic. Even my mum, who has dementia has got involved. I spent a whole day with her in the garden, and for the first time in her 79 years she planted some seeds! It was a lovely way to bond with her. Even with her memory difficulties she still remembers the day we had in the garden and remembers Catherine's name. The Community Garden has become a big part of our lives. I always know whenever I go down there I'll see a friendly face, be able to get stuck in weeding, or planting seeds or bulbs or watering or whatever needs to be done, and however short or long a time I am able to help out that day it will always be valued!

 

Helen Dowle

The Pearce Coggan Foundation

Green Farm, Church Lane, Shadoxhurst, Kent TN26 1LS

Email: team@pearcecoggan.org

Phone: 01233 733997

Registered Charity #: 1189417

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