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Growing community connections with grant funding

Date published: 6 June 2024

Read time: 2 minutes

A lady watering some plants using a watering can.

Building Futures East has used a grant of £4,450 from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to help create a safe and welcoming community garden for local residents.

Riverside Roots is a thriving community garden in Walker, run by Building Futures East, and provides a safe space for over 200 members of the local community to meet, make friends, and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening and the environment.

Local groups spend their time tending to a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are then distributed back into the community and Building Futures East’s on-site food bank, which serves up to 40 families with food parcels each week.

To ensure the future of the garden, the grant is helping to fund the salary of a senior community engagement officer at Building Futures East and will also contribute to the maintenance of the garden and purchase of equipment.

A lady stood with a double decker bus in the background behind her.

"Our community garden has gone from strength-to-strength, and its impact now extends far beyond Walker, with people from Newcastle’s West End and North Tyneside areas benefitting from the produce we grow and the food parcels we provide."

Dawn Emmerson

Senior Community Engagement Officer at Building Futures East

“There is a real mix of groups who work on the community garden, all who get to benefit from the improved access to nature, as well as its positive impacts on mental and physical health.

"The community grant from Newcastle Building Society will mean that I am able to continue to run the project on behalf of Building Futures East, and extend the reach of its impact which is already benefitting the lives of hundreds of people in the Newcastle and North Tyneside areas.”

A white converted double decker bus. On the side of the bus reads "Secret Garden" and there is a rainbow and some fruit and vegetables painted on.

As part of the garden’s future development, a double-decker bus is being transformed into an extension of the community garden’s growing area with local artists helping to paint the bus, and fruit and vegetable planters being installed. Once the bus is completed it will be available for all local people to enjoy.

Download the press release (PDF, 202kB).

Image caption: Kelly, a volunteer at Bright Futures East's Riverside Roots garden, watering some of the plants.

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