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Grow your own, eat your own, sell your own: Boscombe community wellbeing project set to open

woodern vegetable growing beds

A much-anticipated community building in Churchill Gardens that will be the focal point for a food and wellbeing project will soon be open for business.

The building forms a key part of BCP Council’s ASPIRE programme (Adding to Social capital and individual Potential In disadvantaged REgions), which aims to help people boost their self-esteem and focus on their wellbeing by supporting them towards employability and healthier, more active lifestyles.

Those taking part in the programme which has a ‘grow your own, eat your own and sell your own’ ethos at its core, will become more active, work towards achieving goals and focus in on healthier food. Funded as part of the Interreg VA Channel programme, BCP Council is aligned to a UK framework and is working with other partners, including C3 Collaborating for Health, to deliver the programme.

The building will also be the new home of community Joy Café, which will serve fresh coffees and food 6 days a week from 2 July 2022.

Zoe Keeping, Community Engagement Officer for C3 Collaborating For Health said:

“This is a really exciting project happening in the heart of Boscombe and I’ve loved being a part of it, working with local residents, activity providers and BCP Council to support its delivery and ensure that the programme aligns the needs and wants of our community.

“It’s been great to see so many local people join in and benefit from the various activities funded by BCP Council as part of the programme so far.

We’re all looking forward to Joy Café moving in and the new community space opening up so we have a base to work from to make the ‘grow your own, eat your own, sell your own’ dream a reality with the launch of a cooking club and plans for a micro farmers market supplying the local community with fresh produce and healthy, homemade makes, bakes and more.”

To date, the ASPIRE project, has attracted over 100 participants who engaged in the taster sessions last year and in the first half of 2022.

The programme is being delivered by local activity providers including Vita Nova, Bournemouth Wellbeing Experience, Grounded Community and community choir and Boscombe Sing. Together they provide a range of activities: performing arts, gardening, dance, yoga, meditation, Pilates and other small group sessions.

Activities run by the ASPIRE project will be put on show during the Queens’ Platinum Jubilee Garden Party in Churchill Gardens, on Saturday 18 June 2022, from 2 - 6pm, at a village fete including stalls, music, dance, community singing, fancy dress and theatre.

The next phase of the programme will focus on scaling up the activities through the summer and supporting participants on their wellbeing journey and progress.

Cllr Jane Kelly, Lead member for Communities said,

“I am so pleased to see BCP’s ASPIRE programme already helping so many local residents. Eating healthily can seem unachievable on a budget and knowing how to grow and prepare fresh food can make all the difference. This project will be invaluable to so many and the hub itself will be a valuable asset to the residents and the local community who use Churchill Gardens.”

People living nearby will be able to vote on the name of the new building through a community poll, with the final decision to be announced during the Queens’ Platinum Jubilee Garden Party event in Churchill Gardens on the 18 June 2022.

Next to the new building Grounded Community and local volunteers have set up a new garden to grow, cook, eat, and distribute a range of vegetables and herbs. The plan now is to provide a flexible structure to enable this resource to blossom and grow for the benefit of local people.

Another aspect of the project features the ASPIRE Health Kiosk which has been delivering pop-up health checks in the Boscombe area throughout May and will be located in Boscombe Library for the rest of spring and summer.

The Health MOT roadshow is an initiative funded by ASPIRE offering free health and wellbeing check-ups from a mobile unit designed to check factors such as weight, wellbeing, age, body mass index, body fat content, blood pressure and heart rate.