Earth Moves needs assistance to help renovate a community greenhouse, with the aim of it becoming an "oasis" which produces year-round greenery and a rural space within an urban environment. It will open its doors to the local community, who will benefit from all it has to offer, including well-being and creativity.
The Belisama Community Greenhouse was initially inspired by the Eden Project. We have created a community who have benefited from spending time, working, socialising and learning: a safe haven, where people can relax and connect to nature. The synergic effect of creative expression, community, growing plants and year-round sunshine in nature is extremely healing and uplifting. We hope that this healing green space will outlive us and create an all-weather light and green space for people in the future.
We are a growing cooperative group of over 20 people. The core group who began the initiative are collectively called 'Earth Moves'. They have professional backgrounds in psychology, the arts and well- being. Horticulture is a passion that we all share. We all have a desire to give something special to the community and want to create a place which encourages healing, community interaction and boosts the local economy, and further afield.
Twelve months ago we began to renovate a very large derelict commercial greenhouse in Wallasey. Our community has grown, and together we have changed a space that was broken and full of weeds into a beautiful, relaxing place for growing and hosting well-being and art sessions.We have relied primarily on donated time, tools and furniture. The process of growing, clearing and ultimately resurrecting the greenhouse has simultaneously created a community with an ethos of social inclusion, well being, creative expression and the practice of permaculture methods.
We have run workshops in art, drumming, and dancing from the greenhouse, as well as providing education in horticulture and ecological awareness. People come along because it makes them feel better. People have spent time in the greenhouse for wellbeing effects alone, as not everyone is capable of gardening. We recently formed a women’s mental health circle, running on cooperative values, which focus on mutual aid and sharing positive interventions.
Because much of what we provide has been free, we don't have the physical or administrative and therapeutic infrastructures to successfully manage the people who are coming, or give them what they deserve. This is exacerbated by the fact we have been unable to pay any rent for space. Manor Gardening Centre has kindly allowed us a year's free rent to establish ourselves and that year is now up. We know our space is a lifeline to many and we hope to have the ability to invite and include more individuals to benefit from the space. In order to do this we need to renovate the greenhouse to a safe, functional environment. We hope to gain an income in a variety of ways, including courses, venue hire and selling our home-grown produce. We will encourage volunteers to be part of our vision and to actively partake in day to day activities. In return they will benefit from co-operative membership and all it has to offer. We will all have a voice, which will be heard: one of cooperation, promotion, care, and a love for the local community.
We have had some great guys helping us who have learning difficulties, they loved being in the greenhouse, however, because repairs were needed, we realised it was not suitable for them to be there.
In the future, when the space becomes more comfortable, we can confidently include all groups that can benefit from our interventions. We have taught many people how to grow food and they have taken what they have learned home and grown herbs in their windowsills and vegetables in their gardens. Many of the people we come into contact with have stressful lives or suffer from depression. We have encouraged them to connect to Nature, furthermore, to meditate and try relaxation techniques.
Our work creates cultural bridges from diverse strands of the community. We have created a small but growing influx of creative activity in our area. We are committed to inclusion and tapping into people on the margins of society, encouraging them to grow plants for food and therapy and to build a community of respect and inclusion. By planting seeds, nurturing plants and communicating with each other, people have transformed both the greenhouse and themselves: this can be equated to positive ripples moving outwards in the manner of co-operative values.
We encourage; intergenerational activity, biodiversity, and recycling.
Those who have mental and physical disabilities can be excluded from mainstream society but we welcome them with open arms. Individuals from these groups visit the greenhouse and have contributed ideas and participated in activities. We would like to expand this cohort of people, but feel unable to do so because of the unsuitable infrastructure and the health and safety issues.
We really need help to be in place for these people and to be able to reach out to more people.
What we need money for;
1/ Making the Greenhouse safe, replacing glass panes, security.
2/Installing a sink, tables, chairs.
3/Soil enrichers, plants and containers, composters,
5/Repair of electrics
6/A raised floor area for workshops.
7/Sound system for workshops
A chart to indicate proportions of money spent.