The BIG Garden gets its appley ever after!
Do you remember, dear readers, that last year, at about this time, Bean and I had attended Apple Day at the BIG Garden in Highwoods Country Park, and we were concerned for its future?
Well, I am delighted to report, ahead of this year's Apple Day on Saturday, that, thanks to some sterling work by the volunteers, the Big Friendly Gardeners, and the wonder that is Wayne Setford, the future looks as rosy as a Cripps Pink!
From next month the BIG Garden will be officially run by Together We Grow, a Community Interest Company headed up by Wayne, that has been providing gardening workshops, clubs and one-on-one work in schools for sometime. Together We Grow's leadership will enable the BIG Garden to create a lasting legacy, continue to educate the public on sustainability and provide the valuable therapeutic work with people with mental health issues, and/or barriers to employment that it was so loved for.
By inaugurating a CIC, and making the management of the garden independent of the Council, funding is much easier to tap into, both from the council in the form of a Livewell grant, and from other organisations and businesses, like the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme. So while Together We Grow deals with the admin and plans the service delivery, The Big Friendly Gardeners are responsible for maintaining the garden, making it suitable for end-users and supporting fundraising efforts. They ensure the garden will be able to open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays.
And this Saturday is Apple Day. From 12 to 3pm the garden will be full of fruity fun - apple bobbing, longest peel competition, apple printing, community juicing with Peach & Pippin, a horsebox bar, run by Tendring Fruit, a raffle and the chance to purchase an array of apple treats to take home for later. (Bean and I will be making toffee apple cupcakes to add to the offerings. You really don't want to miss that!)
Let's hope the weather Gods are as kind as they have been in previous years and we can all enjoy an afternoon of autumnal sunshine, celebrating all things appley and the sweet future of the BIG Garden!