On Thursday, we were visited by the Big Lottery Fund for the assessment of the regional Target: Well-being bid - which meant a visit to MERCi (Manchester Environmental Resource Centre) to hear a bit about some of the healthy eating-focused projects that the bid will fund if successful.
Groundwork's Allotments for Community Well-being will focus on regenerating two allotments - one in Wythenshawe and one in Gorton - using them as resources to encourage local people to get involved in food growing. Surplus food grown will be supplied to MERCi's Herbie initiative - which delivers fresh fruit and vegetables and education around healthy eating to food deserts in north and east Manchester.
HELF (Healthy Eating Local Food) will work with mental health service users, providing a variety of opportunities to get involved with food growing and cooking including the establishment of community cafes. People involved will also be referred to the Groundwork allotment project. The three projects are a great example of how independent initiatives can link together and make a bigger impact.
Fingers crossed that the friendly assessors from BIG were as impressed with the projects as we were. They certainly seemed impressed with the spread put on by Good Mood Food, a social enterprise that works with people with mental health needs and provides one of the best catering services in the city. Good Mood Food should also benefit from the produce grown on the food growing activities that Target: Well-being will fund.
We're going to use this blog to occasionally highlight some of the projects that Groundwork is leading or involved with across the region.
And there's no better place to start than Offshoots - an initiative Groundwork is really proud to manage. Thanks to the efforts of local volunteers and our staff this is a hidden gem of sustainable development nestled away in the grounds of Towneley Hall in Burnley.
Offshoots is a permaculture project that grows food, acts as a centre for community composting, delivers training in a whole range of practical environmental skills, showcases eco-building techniques and has a specialist tree nursery. There's a typical Burnley back yard - illustrating what can be achieved in a small space.
Offshoots won our internal 'Project of the Year' awards last year, and is a truly inspirational place for a visit. It's open to the public Mon-Fri - if you're trying to set up initiatives connected with food growing or composting etc it's a great place to start your research.