New Gardeners ‘will dig’ free training scheme in 2012

The Island’s Adopt-A-Garden project is to offering free training to new would-be gardeners thanks to funding from the NIACE Adult and Community Learning Fund.

The local Footprint Trust charity set up the Adopt-A-Garden project three years ago, with the aim of matching up those without gardens with elderly people who could no longer look after theirs. No money exchanges hands and those involved share the produce.

However, the Trust soon discovered that many who wished to ‘adopt’ a garden had no growing experience and thus could not join the scheme.

The ‘Can You Dig It?’ training scheme aims to meet that need by providing free training to novice gardeners. First places will be given to those wishing to ‘adopt’ a garden, with any surplus places being filled by those who just want to learn how to do basic growing. The training will take place on Saturday 3rd and 17th March 2012, but places are limited. The training will involve practical sessions and some theory. Families are welcome to attend, free childminding is available for very young children, but this must be booked for in advance.

Ray Harrington-Vail, the Trust’s General Manager explains…

“Many young families live in flats or only have very small gardens and thus have no growing space of their own. On the other hand many older people have gardens they can no longer tend…”

“Many people have no experience of gardening and growing and thus need to get some basic guidance and assistance…”

“We applied for funding in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council to the NIACE ACL Fund and they liked the idea of training more people to join our successful scheme. We always have a shortage of gardeners and thus this free training will fill that gap”

“The Adopt – A –Garden scheme helps reduce food miles and the food bills of those taking part and helps build a stronger community…”

For more details please contact Don or Ray on (01983) 82-22-82 or email


Notes to Editors:

NIACE – National Institute of Adult Continuing Education the leading non-governmental organisation for adult learning in England and Wales.

The Footprint Trust is a registered educational charity based on the Isle of Wight.
For more details of their work visit