Where there’s a will, there’s a way: Jen’s Story

Many of our Nature4Health projects have achieved great success, however, these successes don’t come without some difficulties. During the pandemic, a lot has been on hold. This lack of control can be frustrating to say the least, yet this has given us all a chance to really appreciate our time and those we choose to spend it with.

Following a recent visit to St. Margaret’s ‘Hope Community Garden’, Jen, the co-founder of this garden, shared her great story.

Jen had always been interested in growing her own produce but needed a space to do so. Having asked her priest at St. Margaret of Antioch, Jen was given a large, overgrown, and neglected space on the church’s grounds. “To say I was disappointed at first is an understatement. It was too big and too much work” said Jen. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Jen decided to take on the challenge as she was grateful for the space, if not in doubt about its potential at first. She invited some friends of hers to help start up a community garden.

Nina, who now runs the Gardening For All sessions at this site, helped Jen set up a two-year programme thanks to the funding from the National Lottery. Soon word spread and new participants were able to join Jen and clear the site for a much-needed regeneration.

However, at this time the garden was still needing a name. Jen asked her friends and other participants to think of ideas. By chance, one day when clearing old boxes within the church, Jen found a sign that said: ‘Hope Community Garden’. As fate had it, this would now be the name of this upcoming and exciting community project.

Many other loyal participants have helped re-imagine the space. Roger, who is in his 80s, has made great friends with Jen and others at Hope Community Garden, despite their age difference. “It was Roger’s idea to plant snowdrops on the church grounds as these symbolise hope” explained Jen.

Needless to say, Jen certainly is an inspiring individual, whose hard work and resoluteness have not only helped improve one of the city’s greenspaces; but have helped to holistically improve her own and others’ lives. Jen’s story shows how small ideas can create great outcomes.

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