Seven weeks into the gardening programme Ability Grows, the caravanserai team took the chance to take an overview of the project’s development with initiator Jade Sempare.
Jade is a local resident but also an active campaigner for the social and physical accessibility of disabled people in Newham, particularly people who are normally “kept out of the picture” as she says. Speaking about the reasons behind setting up the group and her ambitions, Jade explains “it is no secret that disabled people face a number of barriers in their life and I wish to be a part of breaking down and overcoming those barriers”.
The Caravanserai team assisted with preparations for the project by building planting beds using recycled palettes. These were built to the right height at a raised level to make them easy to access for wheelchair users.
Over the last few weeks the group have successfully grown mixed salad leaves, rainbow radishes, peas, beetroot, broad beans and salad onions. Although none of the members in the group are gardening experts themselves, there are regular opportunities to engage and exchange ideas and tips with the more experienced and local growers who share the community garden. The Caravanserai’s current event programme also provides opportunities to learn from other gardening groups such as the ‘Green Weeekend’ festival on the 17th August which will host workshops on harvesting, growing and recycling.
In terms of numbers Jade explains there have been some casual visitors such as Diane, Ellen, Ashley and Andre and also regular participants, namely Tina. Although we’ve had some local interest in the gardening group, we would very much like to get more local people involved in the project as a free and accessible space open to the public that can enable relationships to build. Ability Grows is is an opportunity for people to socialise, to learn and to share skills and ideas with others that have a common interest and is open to everyone, of all abilities.
To celebrate all the growing and bonding that’s been happening in the project this year, Jade is proposing to host a community lunch soon along with all those that supported the project. If you’d like to help Jade with preparations or to keep up to date with the plans do come along to the gardening groups sessions which run every Wednesday from 12-4pm. You can also follow us on twitter @CTCaravanserai, friend us on Facebook or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.