New gardeners ‘dig’ Adopt-A-Garden

Thanks to support from the NIACE Adult and Community Learning Fund The Footprint Trust’s Adopt-A-Garden scheme has recruited a dozen more gardeners. The Trust gained the funding thanks to a successful bid from the IW Council, linked to encouraging the Big Society concept. Students age ranged from 11 years old to those of pensionable age. The two-day course covered crop rotation, composting, dealing with pests, sowing and harvesting.

Those attending were provided with some seeds to get them going. The ‘Can You Dig It’ training has enabled local people with little knowledge of gardening to gain the skills needed to ‘Adopt’ a garden. The Trust is now looking for gardens for the volunteers to ‘Adopt’.

The new gardeners will not just be growing vegetables, it is hoped that they will promote the various projects ran by the Footprint Trust and other community organisations- thus guiding neighbours and family members to other help available. One example being that students learnt about the charity’s Energetic scheme, which assists families on low income to manage their energy bills.

The Island’s Adopt-A-Garden scheme was launched when it was revealed that there were hundreds on waiting lists for an allotment, and most people have to wait at least 3 years to a space. The Adopt-A-Garden scheme links those who do not have a garden with those who can no longer look after their own. But in most areas of the Island there has been a shortage of gardeners, as many would-be volunteers lacked skills. Hence the need to run a training scheme. Everyone involved in Adopt-A-Garden has a free CRB (police check) to safeguard vulnerable people.

To date over 100 people have been matched and formerly overgrown gardens are now producing local food rather than weeds. Adopt-A-Garden was launched on the Island in 2003 and has received positive feedback from the national gardening press and has been mentioned on Gardeners’ Question Time.

“The gardeners in our scheme usually grow vegetables and often share them with the garden owner…this reduces food miles and helps everyone save money and enjoy fresh produce…”
said Don Roe of The Footprint Trust.

The Trust is asking for members of the public, care and health workers to promote the scheme to their clients and patients.

“Gardening is a great way of keeping fit…as is eating freshly picked fruit and vegetables…
The scheme also takes worry away from elderly people who can no longer care for their garden..”

Free leaflets and more information are available from the charity’s website or by calling Don on (01983) 82-22-82.
Or email