Tidworth Community Garden

It’s not all about me. It’s not all about one idea. It is about you. It is about us. It is about our community and being stronger together.

DE Gardeners was set up to be an umbrella organisation, to inspire a community movement by pulling together all the stories and links of people who are gardening and creating allotments and doing green fingered things around the military. The happy chance is that the more links DE Gardeners create, the more projects we discover.

One such project is Tidworth community garden. Run by long standing Army Welfare Service (AWS) hero Joyce Stretton, she has seen lots of ideas come and go with changes in how things should be done, how people should be helped and how people want to engage. Through it all, she has seen that working outdoors is something all ages and all backgrounds can do to their enormous benefit.

Joyce has a small piece of land next to a hall that provides kitchen facilities and a wet-weather space, behind a medical centre in the enormous Tidworth Garrison. Serving over 12,000 personnel and their families there’s no shortage of people who would benefit from knowing about this project. Despite the scope of opportunity and need, this is a small space that has not been picked up by any other funders around the garrison and will soon be in need of a new lead as Joyce would like to semi-retire.

Recently NHS Social Prescribing has started here, encouraging people struggling with their mental health to engage in growing some veg and being supported therapeutically outside of a clinical environment. A forest school has also launched this spring, hoping to engage children in the joy of outdoor learning. Joyce herself supports users in the polytunnel and raised beds as well as gathering equipment to provide a mud kitchen, kit for outdoor art opportunities and a range of tools and materials depending on the needs of the next project.

This small garden is an excellent example of the resourcefulness and dedication of one woman’s commitment to the community she serves.

To request an allotment email joyce.stretton465@mod.gov.uk.