Pioneering community gardening scheme set to flourish following donation

Your Planet Doctors (YPD) has been awarded £15,000 by the Talbot Village Trust, a local grant-giving charity in south-east Dorset. The grant will help the Bournemouth-based community interest company continue to support and educate local people on the benefits of gardening and food-growing.

The funding will assist YPD to expand and build on the success of its pilot ‘Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens’ initiative, run in conjunction with the community food growing and educational charity Grounded Community and ForeverMore Food (FMF), a social enterprise responsible for coordinating the operations and logistics of the project. Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens was introduced to Beaufort Park housing estate in Southbourne just over 12 months ago to encourage the community to grow their own organic food crops via almost 50 gardens across the estate.

The community’s crops are then harvested and passed onto, or indeed swapped, for crop swap vouchers for residents to redeem against food boxes containing produce grown in FMF fields.

YPD was set up by retired GP Anne Hayden MBE in 2021, whose specialism was focused on improving mental health. Anne said: “Following recognition that mental health issues can stem from food insecurity, the Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens project aims to create small, neighbourhood, organic food growing hubs to improve mental and physical wellbeing. In so doing, we want to help grow sustainable, self-sufficient, and resilient communities.”

Fifty residents at Beaufort Park, 20 of whom now volunteer for the project, have taken part in the initiative to date. To build on its success, the funding will enable the YPD team to continue providing guidance to residents on making the most of their growing kits to harvest single crops. The grant will also be used to reduce the overall cost of an FMF food box by up to 50 per cent and is set to support up to 14 households during the next six months.

Anne added: “We want to thank Talbot Village Trust for supporting our community initiative which helps residents to build confidence and self-esteem, tackle food insecurity, as well as create flourishing friendships and, of course, veggies.”

Talking about the benefits of initiative and growing her own food, local resident Catt said: “It helps a great deal with my mental and physical health. I find that it brings the community together, people start talking to me about what I’m growing and I speak to them about it. It’s been instrumental in my recovery from several different illnesses that I’ve got. It really makes a difference to me, seeing things growing from a seed into a crop – I just love it!”

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, Chairman of Talbot Village Trust, added: “With the cost-of-living rising, there has never been a more crucial time to support organisations that help the community to grow and share food locally and increase levels of self-sufficiency. We are delighted to be able to support the work of Your Planet Doctors to empower our local community and supplement food supplies.”

To apply for funding from the Talbot Village Trust, visit to submit an online application by 31st July. The Trust meets biannually and is accepting applications for funding from both previous and new applicants in the area.

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