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College Invites Green-Fingered Enthusiasts to join Community Gardening Group

Published on: 25 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 24 Jun, 2023

Merrist Wood College at Worplesdon says it is proving you don’t need to be born with green fingers to be a part of its community gardening scheme.

It adds that even if you can’t tell your weeds from your wall flowers, the team at the land-based college will welcome you with open arms.

Photos show Jo Stanworth (left) Merrist Wood College’s community gardening facilitator and volunteer gardener Sally Bailey, seen within the walled garden at the college.

The college’s Gardening Skills for All programme runs on a purely voluntary basis. It was created to people connect with nature, and each other, as everyone navigated their way out of the global pandemic.

The scheme has continued to help people develop basic gardening skills, provide fresh air, improve overall well-being and general fitness and make new friends along the way.

Sessions now run on an informal basis during term time and are free for people on low income, over the age of 65, single parents or those who have a disability or are struggling with their mental health.

Jo Stanworth from the college said: “The pandemic served to reinforce just how important for it is for our mental wellbeing to have access to outside space and to be part of a supportive community.

“The college offers acres of beautiful and varied landscape – including formal gardens and areas that provide the perfect opportunity to create some stunning horticultural displays.

“Participants are able to work at their own pace and choose which sessions they’d like to attend, it’s all very flexible.”

Sally Bailey has been a part of Merrist Wood’s community gardening group since October 2022 and joins in with gardening project three times a week.

She said: “I get a lot out of this activity, I’ve made loads of new friends and have learnt so much about gardening, which is not something I was particularly interested in before I started. It’s now turned into a bit of a passion!

“Everyone is so welcoming and there is a real sense of teamwork. I love helping the new starters get settled in.”

Click here for more details.

To get involved and to apply, you can send an email to

Or phone on 0800 612 6008, quoting OC02CP0A094Q.

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