The Growing works story so far…
Focused on maintaining our successful projects we continue to seek funding, and partnerships that will help us continue our work.
2018 saw Growing works making new connections, building partnerships, and expanding work in the Kirklees area. Links with Paddock Community Trust, Community Learning Works, the LAB Project/ Proper job theatre company, Volunteering Kirklees and a number of smaller community organisations continue to develop helping the charity to reach more people.
The Sprout Project doubled in size, offering weekly sessions in both Dewsbury and South Kirklees, and funding for Young shoots saw the regular delivery of popular sessions aimed at developing young peoples independence and confidence.
With new growing space made available by Kirklees Council at Wakefield Road Allotments, Bud has also seen some very positive changes. The long term aim of providing an outdoor therapy centre for Kirklees is beginning to take shape as the previously derelict site has been slowly transforming, now boasting active planting beds, a composting toilet, potting shed, and plans for further development. The participants of the Bud project, along with volunteers have been fully involved in site planning and development, ensuring that it meets the needs of local people.
Sue Brown was appointed as the Project Manager at Growing works in January 2017. Both Sue and Rachel Burnett have been guiding the charity though some tough challenges as work expands. 2017 has seen the appointment of new staff members to support the growing projects and there has also been a need to seek new venues.
As winter 2017 approached, a new site for Sprout in North Kirklees became a priority and we feel incredibly lucky to have found a new home at Crow Nest Park in Dewsbury – popular with staff and participants alike. Sprout is currently operating at this site on Saturdays from 11-1. For more information about this please click here.
With the news of Hope Banks closure at the end of 2017 Growing works, with the much appreciated help of our dedicated volunteers, underwent a quick move of office to its new base at Paddock Village Hall.
For more information about our latest activities please click here.
2015 – 2016
In January 2015 Growing works became a registered charity and in 2016 a move was made to Hope Bank Works community centre where Sprout sessions could run from the charity’s base. A new project called Young Mentors was then introduced for children graduating from Sprout. This exciting project aimed to provide opportunities for young people to learn life skills and develop socially while remaining in the relaxed and accepting atmosphere they had enjoyed at Sprout.
The move to Hope Bank allowed space for the Herb Nursery to expand, providing volunteering opportunities where local people could get involved in developing the nursery and creating traditional crafts for sale, raising money for the main projects. Volunteer sessions at this site proved popular and have become a project where people can explore opportunities within the charity and gain support in a number of ways.
Allotment work at Almondbury and Wooldale continued to provide respite from daily life for adults during the week and the POD secured its place as a valuable tool in raising the profile of the charity and taking the work out into communities.
2009 – 2014
The Holme Valley Gardening Network was set up by Elaine Thelier and Helen Scott to join with other growers for support, encouragement and a shared passion for working the land. At our first meeting, Mark Lewis from the Independent Cooperative Society in Wooldale offered a field for local community growing and so, The Wooldale Allotment Gardens were officially opened on 1st May 2010. The field was converted to 22 allotment sized plots allowing more families to be involved and those new to growing, opportunities to learn on smaller plots. The Wooldale Allotment Association was formed in December 2010 to oversee the management of the site.
Funding was secured to expand the network, enabling our team to grow and work began to spread throughout Kirklees with the Sprout, Bud and Pod projects organised from an office base in Shepley. A change of name to Growing works was then made in order to reflect this increasing geographical reach.
Sprout continued working with families with children with additional needs and we added a further site at Northorpe Hall in Mirfield. Successful evaluation of Sprout enabled us to evidence the impact of our work on the lives of families and this led to commendations from Kirklees Community Partnerships for the standard and detail of our evaluation.
Bud began working with individuals with long term health conditions in North Kirklees. In November 2014, Bud won a Grassroots Award from The Skipton Bulding Society after national publicity and support which attracted over 27,000 votes!
Pod (our mobile potting shed) was designed by the Catherine Power and made using a local craftsman. With this addition our workshops could be commissioned by public events such as Dewsbury upon Sea and The Flame.
Further funding for a 15 month Market Garden Project from Time to Change, part of the national campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination, gave local volunteers with a lived experience of mental health difficulties the opportunity to run the project with us.
Support was gained from local clinical commissioners, and Community Partnerships, to find ways of securing longer term funding to expand and develop the Sprout project with the aim of reaching particularly isolated families living in central Huddersfield areas, who face different challenges in their urban communities.