Pub digs in with cash to help disabled gardeners

There will be more to offer disabled gardeners at Petworth’s community garden thanks to the help of regulars at The Badgers Pub at Coultershaw Bridge, near Petworth.

Landlady Jules Arlette and her regulars have raised money through their weekly raffle to support the expansion of its wheelchair access area which will mean more raised beds and paths.

Kate Brickell, Petworth Community Garden co-ordinator said: “They are kindly giving us £300 which will go towards the wood – sourced from the Cowdray Estate – for three more wheelchair access raised beds. The regulars have also offered us help in building the beds and extra paths. We are extremely grateful for their support.”

Petworth Community Garden is a voluntary community group, running since 2005 allowing people to grow, harvest, and eat fresh, free, organic fruit and vegetables.

“Our most recent project has been working with groups of children with special needs, as part of West Sussex County Council’s Aiming High For Disabled Children in West Sussex Short Breaks Programme.

“In the very cold weather we have been sowing seeds and enjoying wildlife and eco activities with children from Fordwater and Ingfield Manor schools in the activity room at Rotherlea along with some of the residents there and after half-term we will be out in the garden with the children again sharing the tasks of organic gardening,” said Kate.

There are already some wheelchair-access paths and raised beds, a large accessible shed and wheelchair-access compost toilet.

“More access beds and paths will enable more children and adults who use wheelchairs to benefit from the pleasures and health benefits of gardening,” said Kate.

“As an organic garden we work with nature, encouraging wildlife, looking after the soil, harvesting water, composting, using biological and organic controls and using local and recycled materials.

“We share the harvest each week, along with recipes, cups of tea, home-made cake, and seasonal soup. Members gain increased confidence, community integration, a sense of belonging and learning new skills.”

There are two new projects in the pipeline. Through Wild about Wildlife, supported by The Orchid Trust, Sussex Community Foundation, and WSCC grants for adults with learning difficulties, a new pond and wildlife area will be created to help teach about wildlife.

In addition the Men’s Shed project will be running on Wednesdays, where local men can gather in the community garden shed and make rural crafts as part of a group, sharing their skills over cups of tea.

Visitors and volunteers are always welcome at the garden, which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm.