Nightingale Community Garden 2015-2016

Nightingale Community Garden in Cambridge has been the home of three pilot 'Gardening for Health' groups funded by the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund. While the groups have finished for the time being, the community garden is keen to recruit more volunteers. Sessions usually run on Sunday and Monday afternoons.

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Who is it for?

Gardening for Health is aimed at Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire residents aged 19 or over who may be experiencing psychological distress, physical health problems such as diabetes, chronic pain, cancer or obesity, or those approaching retirement who are at risk of developing dementia. We work in small mixed groups of only 8 learners.

Where does it happen? 

We are based at Nightingale Park, near Addenbrookes Hospital, where we are steadily helping to turn a disused bowling green into a community garden. More info here:

We will also help out in some of Cambridge's many inspirational community gardens, and visit many public and private gardens and garden centres. Once in a while we'll head out of Cambridge and explore other gardens too. Whatever the weather, even in the depths of winter we will have places to go and things to do! 

Volunteering and Employment

There is a real skills shortage of  gardeners locally. Skills acquired through Gardening for Health could become your starting point to a rewarding new career or volunteering placement. 

We have placed volunteers with the City Rangers, at Fulbourn Hospital, continuing at Nightingale Park and within Grow Places too. We have had offers of voluntary placements from Madingley Hall and Anglesey Abbey too.

One of our participants has now set up his own gardening round, and two more have planned to start their own businesses. 

Louise's story

Here's a recorded interview with one of our gardeners. I asked her to tell me about how things were for her before joining the group, what her experience of the group was like, and how things were for her afterwards. This is what she told me:

How much does it cost?

Free, thanks to funding from the Cambridgeshire Adult Learning Fund! 

What will we learn from each other?

A wide range of gardening skills including fruit and vegetable growing, maintaining ornamental borders and lawns, garden design, pruning, and conservation. We'll try propagation, old-school scything, surveying and willow-weaving too!

We'll also learn about mindfulness, self-confidence, pacing yourself, assertiveness, literacy, numeracy and IT, working as a team member, and many other transferrable skills. 

And we'll also have a lot of fun!