New initiative to help Warwick residents with community gardening projects

Helen Smith, founder of Evelyns Gift, with Mandy Littlejohn at the allotment.
Helen Smith, founder of Evelyns Gift, with Mandy Littlejohn at the allotment.

A new initiative has been launched that aims to encourage and help others in Warwick with community gardening projects.

The initiative, which is called Rooted in our Community, was started by Mandy Littlejohn.

Left: Sue Butcher from Torrys Hardware with Helen Smith from Evelyn's Gift.'Bottom right: Helen Smith with Steve Poynter.

Left: Sue Butcher from Torrys Hardware with Helen Smith from Evelyn's Gift.'Bottom right: Helen Smith with Steve Poynter.

Mandy has been a town councillor for 10 years and decided not to stand as a candidate during the May elections but still wanted to be involved in projects that would benefit the community.

She said: “At the beginning I asked Helen Smith from Evelyn’s Gift if she would be part of the project. The idea came about because of the community participation in Warwick in Bloom that I have been very involved in for 10 years and realised how important it is to continue this side of it.

“I decided not to stand as a councillor again but wanted to work on projects that will hopefully benefit the community in Warwick and Evelyn’s Gift was the perfect partner.

“Helen at Evelyn’s Gift and myself have worked together on a few projects now since I met Helen when she set up the charity Evelyn’s Gift in memory of her daughter in 2015. We both enjoy working together with the local community especially on gardening projects.

“One of the first gardening projects in 2015 was to rejuvenate the gardens at St Michaels Hospital in Warwick and with the help from volunteers from Jaguar Land Rover and Barn Close Nurseries this was achieved. This really helped those with mental health issues.

“Evelyn’s Gift has also created a Forest School at Ridgeway School to help the children with special needs and Myton School where a huge area was transformed to help children suffering with stress to focus on their education by being in a tranquil outdoor space.”

The first project being taken on by the team at Rooted in the Community will be transforming an allotment plot on The Percy Estate.

They will be turning it into a community plot and hope to get children, parents and other residents involved with the project.

Mandy said: “We were kindly given an allotment plot on The Percy Estate by the allotments committee supported by Steve Poynter.

“With a grant from Warwick Town Council and the support of Torry’s Hardware we have been able to buy seeds and a few tools to get the project started.

“Volunteers have started to rotavate the plot and have planted seed potatoes.”

Helen Smith, founder of Evelyn’s Gift, said: “Working in the community and gardening helps me personally to cope with my symptoms of PTSD and I hope this group may help others in similar situations.

“Mandy and I have found we have common interests in the community and I am very excited to be working together on this latest initiative

“#rooted in our community will hopefully benefit children and adults who would not be able to take on an allotment full- time.”

If you are interested in supporting or taking part in the Rooted in our Community project in any way contact: evelynsgift@hotmail.com

To keep up to date on the projects go to: https://www.facebook.com/rootedinourcommunitywarwick/