New funding for gardening in the city

The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has been awarded funding for an exciting new, 3-year project called 'Sharing the Harvest', which aims to help more vulnerable people in the city to benefit from gardening.

The project has been awarded £500,000 to support people with learning disabilities or those with experience of homelessness, mental health issues, abuse and addiction to improve their health & wellbeing at community gardens. The Food Partnership will help partners to setup and run gardens in new spaces such as hostels, refuges and day centres, as well as supporting vulnerable people to get involved with existing gardens in their communities.  The Big Lottery's Reaching Communities fund has just awarded the funding, so delivery of the project will start in October 2014, through to September 2017.

Gardening and getting outdoors can improve mental wellbeing and stress levels, particularly for vulnerable groups. People involved at community gardens often enjoy the chance to meet new people and gain skills, or even try new foods. Nationally, there is an increasing recognition of the evidence base for these benefits. Sustain's Growing Health report summarises the evidence of benefits of gardening for health and wellbeing.

The project builds on the Food Partnership's successful Harvest Brighton & Hove project (2009-14) which helped to triple the number of community gardens in the city from 25 to over 75. For those familiar with Harvest, this new project takes the work in a new direction. The funding from Reaching Communities is only for work with vulnerable people so the Food Partnership will need to scale back on some of its other work on food growing at least during the initial setup phase of Sharing the Harvest.

We will be working with a range of partners over the next few months to develop our plans. We know food growing can have a big impact on health and happiness, so it's great to know more vulnerable people in Brighton & Hove will be able to benefit.