Hulme Community Garden Centre was started in 1998 and our vibrant site incorporates a small garden centre and a thriving community garden. We are a not for profit organisation which brings the local community together through gardening and provides vital green space for all to enjoy, relax in, learn from and be part of. We offer a range of volunteering and training sessions: working with groups with learning disabilities and mental health issues; toddler groups; school groups; probationers and mainstream volunteers who help develop, maintain and manage the gardens. Each week up to 100 volunteers engage: with ages from 6 months to 83 years old, from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, both local and not so local.
Examples of sessions include creating an interactive children’s area; learning about the local wildlife in the gardens; building raised beds; clearing and mulching the garden and planting bulbs. Volunteers can also gain an insight into how a garden centre works and key skills in producing and maintaining plants for sale and organic methods of plant care and pest control. With something different and exciting to work on every week and supported by our experienced and diverse team of staff there is always something exciting happening at the gardens. In a typical year we have over 10,000 visitors, work with 100 community organisations/schools and provide over 3350 volunteering, training and workshop opportunities to encourage people to grow their own food, green their own communities, lead active and healthier lifestyles and improve their life chances. We have an active management committee of 6 people and employ 2 fulltime and 8 part time staff.
We currently deliver activities under 5 broad headings:
- Garden centre: providing garden plants and specifically edibles with a dedication to organic and peat free principles where possible.
- Volunteering: our volunteering programme runs daily with sessions geared towards differing abilities and needs. Volunteers do not pay for placements.
- Wellbeing services: these are supported sessions for those with more complex needs. Where possible clients pay a small fee for these services.
- Education and training: we provide a variety of courses and workshops around growing and using your own food from curriculum based school workshops to themed weekend workshops for adults. We also offer training on other aspects of community gardening such as fundraising and community involvement. We are also now able to offer accredited training through the AQA programme.
- Outreach work: we work across Greater Manchesteron a variety of projects such as community allotments, school gardens and community gardens. Support ranges from ‘design and build’ garden projects to guided workshops.