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How to apply for grant funding that has made world of difference to gardening volunteers

One of the group's new raised beds (Pic: Elizabeth Thomas/Friends Of Morgan Jones Community Allotments)

A GREEN-FINGERED community group in Caerphilly has encouraged other volunteer organisations to apply for a grant which has proved transformational for many of its members.

The Friends of Morgan Jones Community Allotment group received £250 from the West Gwent Community Cohesion Small Grant last year to improve access to its flowerbeds.

Chairperson and secretary Elizabeth Thomas said the group had a “real wake-up call” upon realising many members found it difficult to work with ground-level plants.

“We had volunteers using mobility aids [such as] scooters and walking sticks”, she said, adding that some members had arthritic joints, limited mobility and back problems.

The group applied for the £250 to buy “pallet collars” that could be stacked together to create raised beds, reducing the amount of bending and reaching the keen gardeners were required to do.

“These small raised beds meant [volunteers] with some of these problems could enjoy gardening without the strain,” Mrs Thomas said.

“Although we went for a small grant, you cannot imagine the positive difference it has made for our volunteers.”

The raised beds can be moved around the allotments into areas which are easier to access, and can also be stacked and stored easily.

The group is now encouraging other volunteer organisations to apply for the West Gwent Community Cohesion Small Grant, which is available to community-based projects in Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, and Torfaen county boroughs.

“The actual process of application was so straightforward and we were in a position to ask for any help whenever we needed it – so easy,” Mrs Thomas said.

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“I would definitely advocate applying for this grant which I believe could extend to a lot more than what we needed,” she added. “Being a small organisation, every bit of help is so appreciated.

“We gained five raised beds and with the remainder had enough money to fill them with a good soil and compost mix.

“All the beds are now planted up, and since they are at wheelchair level everyone is very happy.”

As reported previously by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the funding scheme offers up to £3,000 for each successful applicant.

Eligible projects should demonstrate how they want to challenge discrimination, promote inclusion, and provide opportunities for people who might not ordinarily come together to meet and celebrate their culture or religion, according to guidance from Caerphilly County Borough Council.

The closing date for applications is Friday July 19 and projects must be delivered by January 31, 2025.

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