Being a Community Connector

'Pam' attended the Community Connector training in 2019. She had the idea to develop a project to teach people how to grow food, and ‘feel the rewards and buzz of gardening’.

“The idea for it was born in my head after taking a short course in practical skills in horticulture. I enjoyed it so much and got so much from it. I was amazed by how simple it was to grow food and literally woke up a few days after the end of the course with the idea that I wanted to pass on what I had learned to people like me, people with autism and other learning difficulties, in my local community”.

Pam has taken her time to develop the project over several years and took advantage of the workshops and support on offer through the community connector programme to build on her existing gifts, strengths, and passion.

She set her project up as a Community Interest Company (CIC), applied for and secured some initial funding through the national lottery which helped her begin to turn her idea and vision into a reality, and she opened her first gardening space in 2022.

Pams garden

The project, which is by a small crew of volunteers, has recently been awarded another grant from the National Lottery Awards For All fund which will be used to pay for ongoing admin costs and some for essential equipment. There are plans to develop a children's vegetable garden, a flower garden, and to begin providing organic produce to a local food bank by next year.

This is the very beginning for this exciting project, the intention is to be on site for an initial period of 7 years and to take this model which was piloted on a small scale successfully last year to other settings to give people in other locations the same opportunities.

Pam continues to be an active member of the Community Connector programme attending events and workshops, as well as leading workshops for other members of the RISE community. She has led a seed planting workshop at a Communities Rising network event and will also be delivering a workshop as part of the ageing well festival in 2023 with support from RISE.

To ensure privacy and maintain anonymity, the name of the individual has been altered in the text.

Being a Community Connector
Being part of the Community Connector programme with other survivors of domestic violence has helped me to believe in myself and my ability to go beyond survivor, living well as a thriver and being able to succeed as a social entrepreneur, giving back to the RISE community and becoming a valuable member of my local community. This is amazing and something I could never have perceived happening in my former life.
'Pam', Community Connector