Students to invite their neighbours round to get gardening

Residents in Bath’s Oldfield Park may soon have the chance to grow more of their own vegetables, thanks to a garden-sharing initiative by students from the University of Bath.

The scheme aims to match green-fingered residents with students in the area who have under-used garden space that they are willing to offer to neighbours for growing food.

Called ‘Growing Together’, the project is being run by a core volunteer group of four students from the University, with support from: the Student Community Partnership (in association with Bath & North East Somerset Council); Bath Spa University; V, the national young volunteers service; and the Students’ Unions from both universities.

Volunteers from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University are carrying out market research into demand for gardening space in the area as well as the likely supply of gardens.

The ‘Growing Together’ group are attending local community meetings and collaborating with similar schemes that already exist, such as the Bath Area Garden Share (part of Transition Bath) and Bath Organic Group.

They hope to trial the scheme with two gardens ready for planting by mid April.

Fiona Shaw, a final year Natural Sciences student at the University of Bath and member of the core project group, said: “Many people are missing out on allotment spaces and we hope that this project is going to be a very practical way for students to help local residents.

“Most students don’t tend to use their gardens to their full potential and giving other people the opportunity to use the space seems the logical step. It will be a great chance for the community to come together.”

Barry Cruse, Chairman of the Bath in Bloom Committee, said: "I am absolutely delighted with this initiative, it will give gardeners who are on waiting lists for allotments the opportunity to get growing sooner rather than later.”

The other students who make up the core project group are: Christabel Buchanan, Justin Lee-Gammage and Jonathan Evans.

The group would like to hear from students and landlords in Oldfield Park with good gardening space and residents who would like to get involved. Please email the project group.

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