Community gardening project set to bloom

A Teesside community is digging in to grow its own produce and protect the planet, thanks to new pocket allotments created by Thirteen.


12 Jul 2022

Customers living at Kennedy Gardens in Billingham, are set to become gardeners, growing fresh produce in their own community gardens. 

Thirteen has created raised wooden planters for vegetables, plants and herbs, allowing residents to come together to grow their own fresh produce, build a great social opportunity and reduce their carbon footprint.

Residents fed back to Thirteen that they would like a gardening group, using the area as a space where they can gather and socialise. 

The planters are just the first of a number of new growing spaces that will be installed, with plans to create polytunnels and increased growing areas for customers, as well as enhanced wildlife habitat with bird boxes and feeding stations to promote biodiversity. 

Environmental specialist John Woods is leading the project and has worked with colleagues and customers to take it from concept to reality. 

He said: “Many of our customers talk to us about the way in which gardens and outdoor space can provide them with different social opportunities, so this project really builds on that, creating places where people can come together – as communities – and improve not only their mental health and emotional wellbeing through the connections they make, but also benefit the environment, by reducing their carbon footprint. 

“As they are growing their own vegetables and produce, we’re talking to our customers, so they are learning about the environment and the many benefits of improving biodiversity in our communities too. It’s an excellent project and one we’re really excited to be delivering in partnership with our customers.”

The project makes use of the outdoor communal area, providing a pleasant setting for green-fingered residents to enjoy. As well as gardening, many of the people living in the flats see it as an opportunity to meet with their friends and neighbours. 

74 year old, Pat Corbett, who has lived at Kennedy Gardens for 10 years, has worked with John his colleagues from Thirteen and residents, to shape plans for the community garden and said the planters have already become a focal point where neighbours will meet and catch up. She said: “I’ve always loved gardening. This is a great reason for going out and seeing our neighbours and having a chat. We’re looking forward to the additional community growing spaces taking shape.”  

The project is one of a range of initiatives underway at Thirteen to improve the environment and support residents to live more sustainably.

Thirteen launched Take Control, a net zero campaign to support its team and its customers to reduce their carbon footprint and is working with its communities to put in place improvements that drive down emissions and protect the planet.