We have two regular garden volunteer sessions on Sunday and Monday afternoons from 2 to 4pm - with gardeners' tea at 3 (flyer).

Constituted group: Nightingale Gardeners

People who define themselves as being regular attenders on Sundays or Mondays can join as members of the garden (Membership form). We have printed copies of the form in the club hut - ask Rebecca (Secretary) or Keith (Membership Secretary). There is no fee to join.

In May 2018, we set up a new constituted group (Nightingale Gardeners) so we can better involve people in decision making, have our own bank account, insurance and fundraise.

We have a constitution, which is focussed on enabling community gardening. We want the group to be as happy and informal as the sessions.

Meetings and papers

Our first formal meetings were about every 8 weeks, at 1pm on Sundays in the garden. We will now have them less often - probably in March, May and September. We’d rather do things than talk about them:

Next meeting: Sunday 8 March 2020 at 4pm: Spring meeting.

  • Sunday 10 May at 4pm: AGM

  • Sunday 20 September 2020 at 4pm: Autumn meeting.

For a current plan of the garden see the design page.

You do NOT need to be a member of the group to come and enjoy the garden, including at these sessions.

Garden volunteer sessions:

  • These are volunteer-led.

  • We don't meet when the weather is grim. So do check the weather forecast and the home page of this website before travelling far.

  • We meet only when we have a garden co-ordinator present, for safety and keys so, rarely, some afternoons might be cancelled.

  • We are covered by insurance for only adults to volunteer but children are welcome as long as they are supervised very closely by a parent or guardian and can also work safely when other volunteers are working in the garden. Sometimes, it is unsettling for the volunteers if there are too many children in the garden when they are working, especially if they are mowing the grass.

How we work

We work under supervision, and collaboratively, with Streets and Open Spaces.

  • From 14 September 2018, we have been insured via Nightingale Gardeners Group (Zurich insurance). From 14 September 2019, we are insured by McClarrons Ltd (certificate is in the club hut).

We don't have very many tools and won't always have a wide range of tasks for people of all ages and abilities but we try to stop and chat with park users and also share hot drinks and biscuits - even cake!

'Gardeners' teas': we don't have a budget for the teas but people bring things along to share. In the past, the Co-op at the Marque has been generous too in donating drinks etc for QECF events and we have used the left-overs.

We have a kitty tin for small cash donations and this is now paid into the Nightingale Gardeners bank account to support everyday garden expenses, including insurance.

Do drop by, and bring some gardening gloves with you, unless you don't mind wearing the group ones.

Joining Streets and Open Spaces Volunteers

Since January 2017, if you wish, you can register as an individual as a Streets and Open Spaces volunteer. Rina, the organiser, will also contact you by e-mail about other local volunteering opportunities, such as litter picking, nature reserve work and bench restoration. Ed Nugent, our City Ranger, can also sign new members up.

Earning Tempo time credits

Since 1 October 2018 (until at least March 2020), volunteers can earn Tempo time credits: ‘an hour for an hour’, which can be in 10 min increments. We just do one per session to make the admin simpler. Rebecca reports these at the end of each month based on her record keeping. Ask Rebecca for details.

One-off volunteering and corporate social responsibility

In 2016, we had a large group from MedImmune for a day, which was great in a very new garden space.

We have had at least three days' of Community Payback doing wonderful jobs in the garden and will invite them again when we have enough tasks to keep them occupied for several hours.

Over the past few months, we have such regular and talented regular garden volunteers, we don't currently have the capacity to welcome large groups for 'general work'. We could, however, welcome very small groups within our existing sessions on Sundays and Mondays, working alongside our regular volunteers.

Other ways of enjoying the garden

Our volunteer garden co-ordinators also work so have limited time, outside Sunday and Monday afternoons, to meet people and open up sheds etc. On Friday afternoons until Summer 2019, we hosted an informal group: Little Nightingales. Contact us if you have ideas for other groups to meet in the garden and we will see if we can work something out. It will be easier when we have the green-roofed veranda in place and when the park pavilion has been re-built.

Our current and past gardeners:

Since 2014, lots of people have been involved, quite informally, in turning the dis-used bowling green into a 'community garden for everyone to enjoy'.

People and groups have included

  • 28th Cambridge cubs, with Rotary Cambridge also under a grant from the RHS Greening Grey Britain.

  • Friends of Nightingale Park, but we don’t think they are active any longer;

  • Social and therapeutic horticulture groups from both Grow Places and Headway Cambridgeshire. These staffed projects no longer use the garden. The Sunday and Monday sessions are now just volunteer-led.

  • MedImmune team - at a CSR day in April 2016.

  • Papworth Owl's Horticulture Project;

  • Queen Edith's Community Forum;

  • Park users and people recruited locally via the Queen Edith's Community News, Sustrans-supported social walkers, Transition Cambridge and various social media outlets.

Useful links

Networks we are part of:

Possible grants to which the new group could apply:

Seeds/plants online -some we have used or have seen recommended in the media:

Rebecca is a huge fan of Harvey’s plant stall in the market, opposite M&S. Locally grown plants, including veg.

Last updated: 2 October 2019