People coming together has been really important this year after 18 months of shielding, distancing and isolating.
Growing FOCAL is a new growing space based at the FOCAL community centre on New Hey Road, Huddersfield. Having started small in April this year they have achieved a lot in only a few months – but now they need more space.
They are offering people the chance to support their work through Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform for local projects. You can help by donating from as little as £2. The fundraising link includes a video to explain more about what Growing FOCAL do now, and how they want to expand.
Thanks to funding from the National Lottery they were able to purchase equipment and basic tools to get them going. With the help of a local joiner raised planters were constructed from railway sleepers.
The area has been transformed into a warm, welcoming space that people enjoy spending time in!
The area’s Social Prescribing Link Worker and Community Plus had been waiting eagerly for this group to start and had a list of people who would benefit from such a group ready to refer. They have kept busy and safe over the summer months, working together outside to grow a whole range of vegetables including broccoli, corn and many others.
One local resident passes the space on the school run, prompting his daughter to ask her dad if they could grow some things in their garden! They were able to harvest their own set of pumpkins ready for Halloween. The resident said: “We would just like to congratulate everybody that has taken their time out to create the wonderful fruit and vegetable patch at the FOCAL Centre. Whilst on our family walks around the community we couldn’t help but notice the beautiful fruit and vegetable patch that you have all worked hard to build. This has been a truly inspiring project for our family and the community.”
There are two areas within the space to commemorate lost loved ones: Gordon’s Corner and Peter’s Place, where flowers bloom all year round.
Although it is still early days, participants greatly value the project, and feedback from those coming along has been really positive:
“I love coming here on Wednesdays”
“At the start, I was so anxious to attend, I pushed myself and was greeted with such lovely people and felt really welcome.”
A couple of the group members have said that it gives them ‘a focus to their Wednesday’ to know they have a set time to get up and come for each week, a bit of routine.
As well as growing food they aim to increase pollinators by planting wildflowers, thus helping the environment. At a recent local event Growing FOCAL had a stall and gave out 90 packs of free wildflower seeds to children, kindly donated from Syngenta.
With the summer behind them, the next two months are a crucial time for Growing FOCAL. They have launched a Spacehive appeal to double their growing space, doubling the existing planters and buying suitable storage space outside including their own greenhouse!
With more space, Growing FOCAL can then invite more of the people who have expressed an interest in getting involved and been referred.
With winter on the way, there is little to do in their growing space. Bearing this in mind, the group would like to morph into a ‘Bee Creative’ group, sharing experiences and wisdom with creative crafts and companionship. The people in the growing group are really excited with ideas for expansion, as it will mean they can still meet every week even in the winter months.
We would like to invite people from the community to share ideas and teach everyone new skills. In the spring and summer months, people can choose to join in with the growing space or craft space, whichever they prefer. When creative minds come together they can achieve some wonderful things!