We have a favour to ask! If you feel as passionate as we do about all the good things that happen at Martineau Gardens, would you please vote for us here, in the MarshCommercial ‘For the People Awards 2022’:
We are runners up to win £5,000 in the Passionate Awards category – we just need to have as many as our supporters as possible vote for us. After you have voted, we would be so grateful if you could share the link with family, friends and colleagues, the more people who vote for us, the greater our chances.
Please share this link: Martineau Gardens (marshcommercial.co.uk)
Voting closes midday on Saturday 20 November 2022
“This is the only place I feel safe now, I hadn’t realised how important the gardens were to me ”
Help us to continue caring for our community – vote now!
At Martineau Gardens we are hugely passionate and enthusiastic about the work we do to improve the lives of our local communities. We are a 2.5 acre community garden close to Birmingham city centre. We are open six days a week, as a tranquil place that is free to visit.
We are a place of sanctuary for 80-100 volunteers each year, that includes people with mental health issues, acquired brain injury, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those living with dementia. Volunteers come together to access our Therapeutic Horticulture programme, which builds community, relationships and has been proven to boost their sense of life satisfaction.
Lockdown, fear of the virus and social contact, inability to access normal support services, isolation from support networks and lack of access to safe outdoor space all had a massive impact on our volunteers wellbeing. When we temporarily closed in March 2020 we kept in regular contact with our volunteers. It soon became apparent that people’s mental health was deteriorating, so we reopened in smaller groups with increased staff ratios. In total throughout 2020 we only closed to volunteers for eight weeks. During the disruptions we dedicated hundreds of hours to staying in touch with volunteers who were unable to attend in person.
One volunteer said: “I was like a pressure cooker; I could feel myself building up ready to blow.As soon as I came back to the gardens, I could feel my heart rate drop, it was like the stress was just oozing away”.
Another said “This is the only place I feel safe now, I hadn’t realised how important the gardens were to me until I couldn’t come”
Knowing how important the gardens are to our volunteers it is vital to us that they ensure they know how much they are valued here. Volunteers built brick barbeques this year, that we used to hold two thank you barbeques, which were very popular. Next week the Lapal Trust are taking our volunteers on a canal boat trip locally to enjoy the autumnal scenery. We were also nominated for and won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This recognises the dedication of hundreds of people over the last 25 years that has made Martineau Gardens an exemplary community garden.
When asked to describe what Martineau Gardens means to them, many volunteers used words such as “heaven”, “calming” and “safe” to positively express their gratitude towards the gardens. Additionally, some volunteers described the gardens as a second home and somewhere they can feel comfortable being themselves:
“I feel really comfortable, yeah, I felt at home, erm, immediately really yeah”
“It is a place of tranquillity and to me, it is like a haven and as soon as I come into that archway I feel like I’m just safe, it just feels really safe.”