Teens help Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire grow a better future

The young gardeners were aged between 16 and 17.
The young gardeners were aged between 16 and 17.

Luton youngsters have been putting their green fingers to good use thanks to a charity project which helped them grow food and fight poverty in their local community.

Between August 13 and August 16, teenagers taking part in the NCS programme through ‘Learn By Design’ volunteered at a community food growing hub in Strathmore Avenue.

The youngsters were taking part in their social action week and transformed an unused and overgrown car park into a space in which residents can plant, tend, and grow food for themselves and others.

The hub is co-ordinated by community charity Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire in partnership with Strathmore Avenue Methodist Church, who recently received a grant from the Big Lottery Awards for All programme to contribute towards works.

Rosie Cliffe, project officer at Groundwork, said: “We hope that over the next few months we can invite other local residents and community groups to help develop the site and tend to the garden.

“Our vision for the garden is of a space where the local community comes together to meet, relax and enjoy eating and sharing the food that is produced there.”

This is the second community food growing hub that Groundwork has launched, as the first one at Farley Hill has been a roaring success over the past two years with different groups from the community growing fresh produce.

Groundwork is now urging communities to visit their local hubs and get involved with activities to help tackle food poverty, as Strathmore Avenue Church is doing.

Church treasurer, Gillian Henley, said: “It was a pleasure to meet the young people and their leaders who came and worked hard to prepare the garden.

“The church is happy to work with Groundwork and involve the local community on improving the environment.

“It is part of the church’s vision to be an Eco Church and already new LED lighting has been installed and the utilities are now supplied by renewable energy providers Ecotricity. We are looking forward to seeing the Garden Hub scheme continue to grow over the coming year.”

The sessions for the group were the first of the Fork to Fork activities – a new project at the hub funded by Wixham Tree Trust and London Luton Airport Limited through Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation.