Keith Colin and James Beasley are forging a community interest company for their Our Patch scheme. It offers people the chance to develop their gardening abilities, as well as assist those who are unemployed gain confidence in developing valuable social skills.
Its first project will take place at Worthing Leisure Centre, working with the venue’s café to utilise a patch of land there as its first garden. They will grow a range of vegetables and fruit –some of which will be sold via the café to help enable the scheme be as self-sufficient as possible.
Having previously taken on a range of projects with West Sussex County Council, Keith, 36, of Harvey Road, Goring, believes the scheme has plenty of potential, given the success of similar initiatives around the region.
He said: “This all came about from me looking for work. I had some health problems and after recovering I wanted to do some volunteering that was useful.
“First off, I did something with the Conservation Volunteers group and the West Sussex Rangers and it went from there.
“This is an exciting venture and we want it to be as accessible to as many people as possible, so that it is a real community scheme.
“We’ll be looking at growing salad vegetables for the café and exploring ‘vertical gardening’ techniques with volunteers.”
Equally enthused by the project, his colleague James, 31, from Brighton, added: “I’d done quite a lot of youth work before, which made me realise I wanted to help others within the community and am studying a BA degree in youth work.
“I used to be quite a shy person, but by doing some voluntary work like we are planning with this, It made a big difference to me. I’ve also got a graphic design which enabled me to do the website for Our Patch.
“We’ve had a lot of support from Worthing Leisure Centre for this and are just finalising our business plan, but the good thing is that it doesn’t require much money.”
He added the council had indicated there could be further areas of land to expand the scheme in future. For more information, visit the website: www.ourpatch.weebly.com