Growing in the Community aims to impact, positively, the lifestyle, aspirations and attitudes of families across the Hawbush and Brierley Hill area; this through the well recognised physical, psychological and social benefits of gardening-related activity and the development of new skills and interests.
Hawbush Community Gardens (HCG) in Brierley Hill is a stunning attraction, with picnic area, orchard, small pond accommodating aquatic wildlife, allotment plots, grass paddock and woodland – an oasis of calm and natural beauty, almost hidden within suburban Hawbush and Brierley Hill. Now a registered charity and run entirely by volunteers, HCG hosts “family events” during school holidays with regular and increasing community engagement; others enjoy growing on the allotments and maintaining or further developing the site. Much of the produce from HCG goes to Black Country Foodbank, local families or community groups.
Voluntary Sector Innovation Fund has supported the installation of a carpentry workshop and the purchase of equipment, tools and materials for site maintenance, site development and community support. One group benefiting from access to the gardens are young people from Pens Meadow School, Pensnett. Students with complex needs aged 16 to 19, attending weekly in 2018, developed a sensory garden. In 2019, two separate groups have undertaken a range of work, from seeding, propagation and planting of flowers and vegetables, to general site maintenance.
Ken Smith, site manager and chair of trustees, comments: “We value and enjoy the involvement of many local organisations, with significant mutual benefit; but for me Hawbush Gardens is so special because of the impact that can be seen on the lives of individuals. Many find the environment and work experience both emotionally and spiritually beneficial.”
Hawbush Community Gardens – an oasis in Brierley Hill
Photo: Lauren Simmonds