The Foundation supported Ampersand Projects’ ‘Grow Your Road’ with a grant of £3,000 from the Coronavirus Resilience Fund. The project gave people in Birmingham the tools, skills, and community support to grow their own vegetables at home.

Due to the pandemic, the Grow Your Road project needed to be delivered slightly different this year. While addressing issues of mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown, they commissioned online workshops by local freelance gardeners and creative practitioners.

The project was also delivered to Billesley Primary School. We spoke to Laura Butler, a Specialist teacher at the School who said:

“At Billesley Primary, 48% of our children are disadvantaged. Promoting positive health and wellbeing are at the forefront of our school’s approach.

 

“When the opportunity to participate in Grow Your Road came along, we were extremely pleased to offer our families something that would promote wellbeing, encourage time outside (or bring the outdoors in) and develop a sense of community.

 

“Many classes shared their plants’ progress via video lessons. We also supplied children in our key worker bubbles with kits to start at school and take home. Many parents thanked us personally, commenting on how much the whole family appreciated it.”

 

Ampersand recently reported that the project improved the health and wellbeing of its participants, increasing their time spent outdoors and encouraging healthier eating.

Billesley Primary began offering online mentoring provision to children who were struggling at home. Laura met weekly with a child in Year 3 who was struggling with her behaviour:

 “She felt cooped up in a flat with several siblings and no outdoor space. She had little to look forward to. Her eyes lit up when I asked if I could drop a growing kit on her doorstep. From then on, it felt like I was meeting with a new child.

 

“She was so excited to share about her plants’ progress and to ask questions about what to do next. The week her plants bloomed it was the first thing she told me, even though it had been her birthday the day before. Her mum commented that things had become easier after the growing kit as it gave her something to care for and feel positive about.”

Over 500 households grew their own veg using Grow Your Road kits which contained seeds, pots, compost and easy grow guides.

Charlie, a beneficiary, said:

“I enjoyed everything about it. My favourite thing was that I could get messy and that I could take it home. It is just by the kitchen windowsill and then we are moving it to the back garden.”

Angie, Teacher of beneficiary, added:

“It was one of my favourite sessions with my bubble as it was so hands on and different. We loved doing it together.”

To read Grow Your Road’s full report click here.

To see our impact throughout the Covid-19 pandemic click here.

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