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New marquee for Redcatch Community Garden

All images below courtesy of Redcatch Community Garden

A local community garden has a new marquee where people can take part in activities to improve their health and wellbeing – after raising £40,000 in funds.

Redcatch Community Garden in Knowle, which opened to the public four years ago, is a mainly volunteer-run organisation.

It aims to provide “a space for the whole community to come together and learn about growing fresh, healthy food.”

Volunteers Claudia and Brian with some of the plants sold at Redcatch Community Garden

As well as growing and selling organic produce and plants, the project runs the thriving Roots Cafe – and has also provided a wide variety of activities and courses over the years for residents of all ages.

These have ranged from wellbeing and yoga sessions to cookery and craft workshops – and the garden even has a resident trainee art therapist.

Before the pandemic, the site at Redcatch Park also held themed outdoor pop up food events, seasonal fairs and even a comedy night – as well as hosting regular visits from local schools.

A pop up Italian night held at the garden before the COVID-19 pandemic

Now a grant from Enovert Community Trust, along with a well-supported Community Crowdfunder, have meant the project has raised the £40,000 needed to replace its old marquee – and can continue its activities in all weathers.

Co-Founder of Redcatch Community Garden, Kate Swain says: “Like many other organisations around us we have struggled to keep going to maintain our fantastic community resource….

“Our new marquee has electricity, lighting and heating and most importantly does not fall over in the wind!

“We know from those who visit – that what we provide in terms of offering a great place where people can come together, learn, relax, try new activities and improve their physical health and mental wellbeing – is so very important. Now, more than ever!”

Co-founder Kate Swain in Roots Cafe.

She says they plan to “continue and expand activities and workshops” offered to the community, groups and schools – and will now be able to provide an indoor eating and events space.

The garden in the summer with some of the vegetables grown

Trust Secretary of Enovert Community Trust, Angela Haymonds, says they are delighted to provide the grant for the permanent marquee.

She says: “…The development will help to increase the range of services on offer to the local community and ensure the garden continues to make a positive contribution to the education and wellbeing of all of its visitors.” 

Knowle West resident Dan Jones (43) is a regular visitor to the space with his two young children – as it is somewhere in the area where there is “a park and coffee.”

He feels the new marquee will be a good thing for local people – especially if it is open in the evenings and at weekends.

‘We’d be very interested in events and the possibility of hiring it for parties – for the community it’s great,” he says.

The garden – officially launched in October 2017 – originally developed from a seed of an idea from Knowle West gardener Steve Griffiths – transforming the park’s former derelict croquet green.

It has continued to go from strength to strength, thanks to an expanding group of some 40 volunteers and now also has ten paid members of staff.

Volunteer Michi with some of the produce grown on site.

Future plans include taking over the nearby Pavilion jointly with The Park Knowle Football Team – to have their own toilet facilities and another community space. They are putting in an expression of interest to Bristol City Council at the end of March.

The organisation has also hired a new kitchen manager and intends to run accessible supper clubs, using as much of the garden’s produce as possible – and to also host weddings on the site.

And a new ‘people and projects person’ will be building relationships with organisations across the community to find out how Redcatch can link up with them.

The main focus is that the garden continues to be a social space which will benefit the whole community.

Kate says: “We’re a not for profit – so it’s all about reinvesting money made from the cafe – so all those coffees brought during the pandemic will be giving back to community events.”

Redcatch Community Garden is based at Bristol Broadwalk, Redcatch Park, Knowle, BS4 2RD. It will be re-opening on 17 April – including its shop.

Visit Facebook Redcatch Community Garden for regular updates and opening times for the site and the cafe.