Community garden to close permanently due to Covid funding crisis

Community Roots Great Yarmouth

FLASHBACK: People enjoying the Mind community garden in Great Yarmouth. The horticultural hub is having to close due to a lack of funds. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A community garden project is being forced to close permanently due to a lack of funds.

Community Roots based in Queen Anne's Road, Great Yarmouth, has been run on behalf of Norfolk and Waveney Mind since it was set up in 2001.

Its aim has been to help people to enjoy the physical and mental-health benefits of gardening together.

Community garden project 'Community Roots' was awarded £9,000 to introduce willow weaving workshops

FLASHBACK: The community garden in Great Yarmouth was awarded a slice of lottery funding to launch a willow weaving project. - Credit: Archant

A statement said the decision had come at a time when demand for its services was growing.

It said: "After much consideration, the board of trustees at Norfolk and Waveney Mind have taken the difficult decision to close the Community Roots horticulture service by March 31, 2021.

"Sadly, Covid-19 has caused demand for our services but at the same time decreased our income.

"We have been unable to secure sufficient funding to sustain the service moving forward and can no longer support it from the charity’s reserves.

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"We understand this news may be received with sadness, especially for those who have been personally involved with this project or know people who will be directly impacted by this decision.

Community Roots wreaths

People at a workshop being staged at Community Roots in Great Yarmouth have been enjoying making traditional Christmas wreaths - this year's must-have decoration for the festive front door. - Credit: Community Roots/MIND

"We are working closely with the people who use the service, volunteers and staff impacted by this announcement to ensure they are fully supported both in terms of their wellbeing and in finding alternative support, placements and employment.

"We are hugely thankful to the generosity of members of the public, funders, volunteers, partner organisations and staff who have supported this service over the years, which has benefitted many people’s lives."

A spokesman said the service had been closed to new referrals on January 11.

From March 17 service users will no longer be allowed on site, after which it will be cleared and finally closed on March 31.

The garden/allotment area had been hailed a real asset to the charity allowing people to mingle and enjoy time outdoors with others who understood their issues.

Bringing people together through a shared, creative experience was helpful in boosting confidence and combatting isolation, the charity has said.

Over the years the garden has been a focus for numerous activities like pizza making, arts and crafts, and musical performances aimed at helping individuals and families through challenging times.

People on social media have been quick to share their sadness and upset, hailing the "lovely, relaxed atmosphere."

Several said they had benefited from the gardens and creative workshops at a challenging time in their lives, making new friends.

Another added: "It was a great place for everyone."