I know it can be hard, particularly during the school holidays, to find affordable and engaging things to do as a family. It can be even more difficult if you want those activities to involve some element of learning or social enterprise. You know what I mean…the sort of activities that help kids (and adults) develop into well adjusted human beings with a good social and moral awareness. Well, you may be surprised that many of you will have great family friendly projects to get involved with right on your doorstep.
Located on the community allotments in Connah’s Quay, north Wales, Digging Deeside, a fully inclusive, social enterprise gardening project, is such an activity. Their dedicated team of organisers and volunteers meet from 10am – 12 noon every Tuesday and are always on the lookout for new helpers, even very little ones!
Being an inclusive social enterprise, the project simply runs to sustain itself and makes no profit whatsoever. Importantly, it also gives a range of individuals with a spectrum of needs the opportunity to work outside and socialise with others in a warm and welcoming environment. As you may have guessed from the fact that I’m writing about it, they’re also family friendly and a great option for parents looking for something active, outdoors, but a little bit different for their children to do.
I have taken Jesse and Amelie down on a couple of occasions when I’ve been off during the school holidays, and not just for the free cups of tea and biscuits! Having received grants from the likes of Keep Wales Tidy and Grow Wild, not only do they provide gardening equipment suitable for adults, they also have Lilliputian versions of trowels and gardening gloves ready to get your critters fully engaged in the growing of flowers, fruit and vegetables.
While Amelie, is happy to hang out in her carrier and watch over proceedings, Jesse loves getting stuck in. Trowel in hand, he will weed and dig, but his favourite activity is to bug hunt. On his last visit he was busy turning over sections of tarpaulin, seeking out the damp, dark hideouts of these mini beasts, shouting gloriously at each one he found. He then got the job of moving any slugs he located away from the delicate fruit and vegetable plants, over to the compost bin, where we assured him they’d be more than happy.
So, if you’re looking for a nice, welcoming community project to go along to with your kids, where they’ll pick up new skills and help to improve their local community, then check out Digging Deeside on a Tuesday morning. Just remember to take your own mug. Similarly, if you are one of our readers from outside of the north Wales area, check your own community web pages for similar projects. You’ll be surprised what you unearth.
Unfortunately, the second half of this post is not as positive and proves that not all people develop into well adjusted humans. Recently, much of the equipment that project relies on has been stolen from the on-site sheds and, as such, as a social enterprise they are currently relying on the goodwill of community members to replace these tools and raise additional funds for more via crowd funding sources. It really is such a shame that a project that exists solely for the benefit of the community, and is used regularly by some of the more vulnerable sections of our community, helping them to socialise and overcome all manner of difficulties, can be targeted in this way. On our last visit the organisers couldn’t even give Jesse a pair of children’s gardening gloves because…yes, you’ve guessed it…the low life scumbags have even stolen those! Like seriously!
Consequently, a plea: if you, or anyone you know, have any connections with any businesses or individuals that may be able to donate items such as gardening gloves, kneel pads, trowels, seeds, compost and the like, please do get in touch with me via email (there’s an email link on our Facebook page or at the bottom of this article). Alternatively, you’ll also find the crowd funding link, which has been setup and aims to raise money to replace the stolen items, at the bottom of this article. The link also gives further insight into the type of people this project supports.
People often bemoan the lack of community spirit in today’s society. Let’s prove them wrong.