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  • Ellen Mary

Word on the street

Do you ever get sick and tired of watching the news on TV or reading the news on line and feeling like the world is simply a bad place? Turn the TV OFF and put your phone DOWN! Get out on the street…

This year I have worked with three charities - The Benjamin Foundation, Grapes Hill Community Garden and Anglia in Bloom. I try to inject a little gardening love where I can. Each charity is very different - from supporting young people facing tough times to encouraging communities to get into gardening and judging community teams on their horticultural efforts. Just meeting and working with outstanding people involved in these groups is humbling, eye opening and truly inspirational.

Whilst I appreciate the need to know what is going on in the world, sometimes its really important to forget the news! There are sincerely hard working, good people who dedicate time and energy into doing great things for our communities, for you and ultimately for the world (I know - I’ve gone big with that statement - but helping one person can change that persons world). Indirectly through these charities I have also met with some incredible people who work to integrate asylum seekers and refugees into our communities, to retired military personnel who have not just guided young people through new experiences to embrace life but who have found that process therapy for themselves, to those who have dedicated their whole careers to horticulture in the voluntary sector helping to brighten up our villages, towns and cities - do you notice those lovely hanging baskets in your town? They don't appear all by themselves you know!

The Benjamin Foundation - a great team in Norfolk & Suffolk, working together to support young people facing tough times. Strengthening families and providing supported and safe accommodation. They tirelessly (I expect behind the scenes there is a lot of coffee), fundraise and spread the word.

Grapes Hill Community Garden - a fantastic team full of enthusiasm for gardening who have turned an unused concrete space into a beautiful urban oasis. Run by the Trustees who are completely voluntary, the garden provides raised beds to the local community, workshops, events and a whole load more. The garden is open all day, so take a look for yourself.

Anglia in Bloom - the AIB campaign is a huge undertaking, which is all run by volunteers. From encouraging new communities to enter the campaign to judging all over the Anglia region to organising awards events and seminars there is a lot of hours put into this campaign. The people on the ground who build teams, spruce up spaces, help wildlife and generally do great things for our environment are hard working and make our villages, towns and cities generally a more colourful place to be.

My teeny tiny horticultural support is minuscule to those who do amazing things in our communities, mostly they are unheard of, they aren't mentioned in the news on TV or in your mobile news app, they might not even appear on social media. But if you look, you will find them and they will restore your faith in humanity.

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