A community garden planted by women is helping build friendships in Northumberland.

Women’s Workshop won cash from Crowdfund North of Tyne for their bid to create a community garden and haven in Amble. They planted out an under-used outdoor space at their Coquet Enterprise Park headquarters with herbs, pollinating flowers, and crops using £9871 raised in a successful crowdfund campaign.

Now blooming with sunflowers, borage, rosemary, lavender, beans, and potatoes, the garden has become a haven for women looking to learn new skills, make new friends, build confidence, and learn to grow their own food.

The project has become an important community asset for residents seeking to tackle issues including food poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis.

And important lessons about nature are key, with a no-dig strategy, a focus on using organic, peat free self-made compost, and understanding how growing you own food can help to reduce waste.

Women’s Workshop Development Manager Angela Davis said the project had made a difference.

Angela, 54, of Widdrington Station said: “I’ve definitely seen a change in people.  People are taking things home, learning to grow at home, and they’re coming in and asking questions, asking how to do things.

People are donating seeds and pots and all sorts to help build the project up. Doing Crowdfund North of Tyne has been so worthwhile; I’d do it again and not think twice.”

The Women’s Workshop is a unique, rurally based women’s organisation that takes a rights-based approach to promoting gender equality in Northumberland and beyond.

Its aim is to offer learning, practical and emotional support, and creative projects that enable women to improve their chances of meeting their full potential, whether socially, economically, or emotionally. It campaigns collectively with women to tackle and speak out on issues that affect them.

Psychotherapist and lecturer Vienna Duff, 63, said the project was life changing. The mother-of-one, from Warkworth, said: “It’s about building connections between people but also about connecting more and understanding more about the birds, insects, trees and the environment.

“It works for human beings but it also works between human beings and the garden.”

North of Tyne residents, grassroots groups and community organisations working to improve their local communities can today apply for a share of £500,000 to help turn their bright idea into reality.

The funding comes as part of Crowdfund North of Tyne, a small grants scheme run by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) – headed by elected Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll – and crowdfunding partner, Spacehive.

Local people and organisations that successfully pitch their initiative to NTCA must then crowdfund part of their costs to demonstrate public support for their project.

Ideas are then judged on the number of community backers – and not the amount of money raised. NTCA and our crowdfunding partners Spacehive are available to fully support groups throughout this straightforward, online process.

Projects that make it through to the final stage receive a pledge, from the NTCA, to help them achieve their fundraising target.

Since launching in 2020, during the pandemic, the NTCA has awarded more than £200,000 to 33 community projects.

Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll, said: “I am looking forward to seeing more great ideas that people have for improving their communities.

“Local people are best placed to understand the challenges and opportunities in their local area and Crowdfund North of Tyne puts them and their ideas in the driving seat.

“I want businesses and organisations that care about the region to join us in offering support to project ideas, whether funding or in-kind contributions, so we can turbocharge the success of locally-led campaigns.”

Got a bright idea? Click here to register for our project creators workshop on 19 September. Alternatively, get in touch with Spacehive via support@spacehive.com

Investment from the Crowdfund North of Tyne’s Main Fund is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.