We have two regular garden volunteer sessions on Sunday and Monday afternoons from 2 to 4pm - with gardeners' tea at 3 (flyer).
New 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). In May 2018, we are poised to 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 draft constitution , which is focussed on enabling community gardening. We want the group to be as happy and informal as the sessions. We will meet for the first time on Sunday 27 May from 1pm to elect some officers (agenda). You don't 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 horrible - i.e. heavy rain. 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 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 and are insured via Queen Edith's Community Forum.
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 always stop and chat with park users and also share hot drinks and biscuits - even cake! We don't have a budget for the teas and have a kitty tin for small cash donations for refreshments.
Do drop by, and bring some gardening gloves with you, unless you don't mind wearing the group ones.
Since January 2017, if you wish, you can register as an individual as a Streets and Open Spaces volunteer.This means, you can gain time credits for the time you work in the garden - we allocate one per session even if you work longer - Rebecca claims them every two months on behalf of the group. The organisers will also contact you by e-mail about other local volunteering opportunities such as litter picking, nature reserve work and bench restoration. You can meet with Rina at the Council or, when there are a few people, she can come to the Monday afternoon session. There are a couple of forms and you need to bring some ID with you.
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 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.
We would very much welcome small groups of people with the following expertise:
Teaching - it would be great to offer workshops in the garden for the following (if a fee is to be paid, we will need to check this with the Council, who can charge fees). We don't have any funds to do these - but could collaborate on fundraising:
- Bushcraft - as long as it doesn't damage the garden!
- Creative activities - creative writing, drawing, painting, photography, video, 3-D...
- Ecology - running sessions on bats, insects, pondlife, wildflowers and trees.
- Forest school.
- Gardening for children or adults.
Construction - we have a wishlist of things that can't be funded by the Council and are a bit beyond the skills (or available time) of our current volunteers:
- Outdoor cooking area - for a BBQ and cob oven (we need the former before we can build the latter).
- Laying paving - we could do with an area in front of the club hut.
- Mending sheds - we need to replace some of our club hut's cladding (and then re-paint it).
- Constructing a veranda, preferably with a green-roof.
- Making and fitting windows - we'd like to swap our existing window for a window/shutter that can be opened as a serving hatch.
Other ways of enjoying the garden
We can host small groups of people coming into the space for activities other than gardening.
Sharing a hot drink after a walk - we do this after the Sustrans-supported social walk on Tuesday mornings, weather allowing.
Maybe doing some drawing or painting together, especially when the sun is out and there are lots of flowers. Playing cards or board games together? We have a three folding 6 ft tables and some stacking chairs.
There is a Ping! table tennis table in the park now and we have a set of bats and balls for people to borrow.
Ecology surveying - we have done bat walks, moth traps, orchid spotting, a butterfly count, a birdcount and lots of bug hunting.
There is information on the Scouting website of suitable activities under Naturalist badge.
Simple woodworking like making hedgehog and bird boxes or greenwood working to make spoons.
Tai Chi - we have at least one group that meets in the main park. We'd need to make sure the gate is open when they'd like to be in the garden.
Contact us if you'd like to be involved with setting this up and taking part.
We are involved in the new Queen Edith's in Bloom project from Queen Edith's Community Forum.
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;
- 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.
- Green Flag Community Award - we could apply for this when we are a bit more mature.
- Local Giving - the new group could join this.
Possible grants to which the new group could apply:
- Big Lottery Reaching Communities grants - rolling
- Magic Little Grants - up to £500, deadline 31 October 2018.
- Sports England Community Asset Fund - rolling...
Last updated: 24 May 2018