West End Women & Girls Centre's Community Garden in Elswick Park was established in 2009 to enable women and girls to participate in growing activities who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so, due to lack of access to land, tools, appropriate equipment and knowledge. We aim to increase women and girl’s skills in gardening, provide education around food growing, seasonality and healthy eating, and develop physical skills and an increased level of confidence and self-esteem. We grow a variety of organic fruit, veg and flowers, combined with educational activities around propagation, composting, pest and disease management, seasonal food and healthy eating. The food grown in the garden is used in the cookery groups run at the Centre so women and girls can literally enjoy the fruits of their labour.
We also work with children from 14 local primary schools who come to the garden on regular trips to take part in our Seeds4Life project to grow their own fruit and veg, cook with it in the community kitchen and take part in fun physical activity.
The community garden is a hub for Edible Elswick, a local partnership project which encourages people to come together across the area to grow food and flowers, to eat and share food and to revive our green spaces. We hold seasonal events throughout the year in the park including a Pumpkin Day and grow your own pasta sauce (tomatoes and basil); regular community clear up and plant days on local estates, encouraging the whole community to improve their environment, health and happiness.