It is with great sadness that we have taken the difficult decision to close our Gateshead office in July 2017 when the current Grow and Learn project comes to an end.
The staff and volunteers who have worked there over four years have done a tremendous job. All were informed of the closure in March.
We opened in Saltwell Park in Gateshead after being funded by The Royal British Legion to run a two year gardening programme called Down to Earth for ex-forces personnel. During this time we were asked to become involved in creating the Garden of Reflection which was built on the former sensory garden in the park and partially funded by two families who lost their sons – Corporal Steven Dunn and Private Mark Turner – in Afghanistan.
The families teamed up with the Sunday Sun’s Never Forget and The Royal British Legion to raise cash for the garden and build a lasting memorial.
We’d like to thank SAGE who have been tremendous supporters, volunteering their time and helping to fund the Grow and Learn programme for students from two local special schools. And we would like to especially thank the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys through their Stepping Stones scheme who were the main funders of Grow and Learn.
All attendees will have completed their Level 1 Practical Horticulture courses by the time we close in July. We would also like to thank the North East Chamber of Commerce for their support over the last year.
Our Gardening for Good Health programme, established with funding from Gateshead Council’s Capacity Fund to promote gardening as a healthy activity to local residents, was very well received and came to an end in March 2017.
We also delivered several sessions in 2014-2015 to those living with dementia funded by Santander.
Our Gardening Together project, funded by Big Local Gateshead, brought residents together for indoor table top gardening sessions as well as gentle outdoor gardening in three care homes – Rosewood House, Armstrong House and Fountain Court.
Our three year partnership with The Stroke Association, which was partially funded by Gateshead Council’s Capacity Fund, has been a success but a lack of funding saw the programme end in the spring. However, gardening for stroke survivors continues as we enabled staff and volunteers at the Stroke Association with the knowledge and tools to carry on with delivery.
In March the Gateshead team moved to new accommodation in the Training Centre in Saltwell Park at the council’s request to facilitate their future plans.
The decision to close Gateshead does not affect any of the other Thrive centres.