New Gardeners ‘will dig’ free training scheme

The Island’s Adopt-A-Garden project is to offering free training to new would-be gardeners thanks to funding from The Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Programme. The ‘Can You Dig It?’ training scheme will start in March 2011. The local Footprint Trust charity set up the Adopt-A-Garden project two 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.

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 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Programme 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…”

“Our bid to the Lottery was backed by IW Age Concern, The Youth Council, Home Start the IW Council and many other organisations and individuals.”

The free training will start in March this year and is limited to 20 people on a first come basis. Priority will however be given to those who are willing to ‘adopt’ a nearby older persons garden.

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


Notes to Editors:

RSWT: The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts is a registered charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the whole of the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds totalling more than £20 million annually to environmental projects across the UK.

Changing Spaces programme: The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme funds a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the local environment.

The Big Lottery Fund: Is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK.