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Ty Pen y Bont community garden project promises a fruitful future

September 29 marked the formal opening of the Ty Pen y Bont community project, an initiative offering plentiful opportunities for all those involved.  The launch included Senedd members Huw Irranca-Davies and Sarah Murphy, as well as Deputy Leader, Councillor Jane Gebbie, who officially opened the garden.

The community garden is a joint project between Ty Pen y Bont Community Hub and Baobab Bach, an organisation that links with other local organisations and volunteers to create community pantries.  Their aim is to promote mental wellbeing, whilst supporting the environment and eradicating food poverty.

Alison Westwood, Director at Baobab Bach, said: “The community garden at Ty Pen y Bont is a fantastic example of how organisations working in partnership can achieve a great deal for the community. The garden has already provided a wonderful volunteering opportunity, with volunteers enjoying working regularly in the garden and producing food that has been distributed through the Baobab Bach Community Pantries. The garden has also assisted in providing an employment opportunity, with two part-time Growing Project Officers now able to teach, guide, support and work alongside our volunteers.

“This garden will become more productive over time and will continue to support local organisations working to improve food security, including the Foodbank and Baobab Bach. We at Baobab are excited about the potential it provides for engaging with members of the community, not only providing a great environment to improve their wellbeing by working companionably in the garden, but by giving them the skills to grow their own produce.

“We look forward to continuing to develop this hugely successful project and involving more organisations and members of the community.”

Scott Pickrell, Daytime Opportunities Manager, added: “I’m sure you will have all heard the saying ‘you reap what you sow’! And there has been plenty of sowing and reaping going on lately at Ty Pen y Bont Community Hub with an exciting initiative led by Baobab Bach in the form of the community garden.

“Projects of this nature are a lifeline to families across the region.  These initiatives provide a sustainable resource that in turn sustains many families at this difficult time.”

Sharon Gronland, Community Access Development Officer, continued: “Although the project only started last year, we have managed to produce lettuces that were shared between Pyle and Lewistown pantries.

“This is the start of a wide range of fresh produce grown and shared locally.

“We are always looking for volunteers to paint fences, plant and maintain the garden – gardening experience is not necessary as there is plenty of opportunity to learn new skills.”

Some of the volunteers have explained how the access to nature is what appeals to them.  They enjoy experiencing the sunshine, fresh air, and tending to the wildlife and plants, as well as working together in this space, which is small, but offers so much.  One volunteer added, “I really enjoy working in the garden at Ty Pen y Bont; it allows me to keep doing what I love, and it helps the community too.”

What a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in the community garden project. It offers so many benefits, ranging from promoting mental and physical wellbeing to environmental sustainability.

We are so very grateful to all those who have contributed to the project, without whom this ‘seed’ for the future would not have been planted. I’m very excited about the strides this initiative promises to take, and all of the lives that it will positively impact.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Health, Councillor Jane Gebbie

A special thanks is given to:

Baobab Bach Community Pantries for leading the project; volunteers supporting and growing vegetables in the community garden at Ty Pen y Bont Community Hub; D+M Building Services who purchased the polytunnel; ASW Builders who erected the polytunnel; Helen from the Edible Food Forest; Older People Service and Learning Disabilities Day Service, based at Ty Pen y Bont Community Hub; Tricia from the Foodbank; Bridgend Rotary Club for purchasing a garden shed; The Mental Health team for the gardening tools; Rachel Lovell from Valleys to Coast; Tesco Maintenance team; Tom Noble for helping to build a seedling table.