I applied to become a Trustee at the garden because I love the ethos, love gardening and have had many encounters with mental health in both my personal and professional life. I was appointed Chairman in September 2017 and before this I was the company secretary of the Board of Trustees.
I have done lots of different things during my time as a trustee and it has changed quite a lot in the time I have been involved. Over the last year, I have liaised with our landlords to secure a new 7 year lease, helped to write bids for new grants (e.g. Reaching Communities and the Loneliness grant), developed a fundraising strategy and plan to help ensure we are financially sustainable.
I have also tried to extend our links with other organisations in the town to raise the profile of the Abbey Physic Garden. I try to help out at all the festivals when The Garden attracts large numbers of visitors, making cakes, washing up and serving teas and coffees. I draft our annual reports, with input from staff and the other trustees and submit the formal returns we need to make to Companies House and the Charity Commission.
Trustees are also members of the garden and for me one of the most enjoyable things about being involved in this amazing place is popping in and having a chat with people about their lives, thoughts, ideas and lending hand if I can. I love The Garden and its people - for me it feels like family.
Acting Secretary (Co-opted)
I have known of the garden through work for a number of years and have always been impressed with how such an enthusiastic, dynamic group of people can manage to make a space feel so calm and welcoming.
I have spent much more time at the garden recently and have enjoyed meeting new people and admiring the garden in all types of weather (sometimes on the same day!)
I was co-opted onto the board in May, when the previous secretary announced she would be stepping down and I would be privileged if the members were to support my application.
I live in Faversham, very close to the Abbey Physic Community Garden which allows me to get to The Garden easily to help out with the numerous activities we have here. I was appointed as a trustee in June 2018 and I love being able to assist with making The Garden a happy and fun place for all.
I have two children and run my own business, so I’m kept busy during the week by work and family life, but whenever I visit the garden, I leave feeling calmer and less frantic. As well as helping manage The Garden’s finances, I try and get involved in all aspects where needed in The Garden.
I became aware of the Abbey Physic Community Garden in 2014 when I moved into the centre of Faversham - this despite having lived within 4 miles of Faversham since 1982 and regarded it as my local town!
When I first stepped through its very low portal I was captivated by it. The greeting and welcome I received was simply marvellous. And on top of that, what a garden, so beautifully maintained and nurtured by the people who use it, in what a location, tucked away between ancient walls in this ancient town of ours.
In my role as Trustee, I have worked with the Board of Trustees to identify funding opportunities for the garden and apply for grants such as the Loneliness grant. I firmly believe in the connection between physical and mental health and have arranged two years of summer yoga classes in the garden. I am also our Monitoring and Learning lead and have supported Suzanne and the team to improve how we measure our impact on people's lives.
I live in Faversham with my partner and two teenage children. I have worked in social care settings - with children in care and with asylum-seeking children and adults - and from these direct care roles, I moved into teaching in Social Care at both local Universities. My current role is Senior Lecturer in Practice Learning at Canterbury Christ Church University, supporting practitioners delivering placements for our Health and Social Care students. We have just had four Occupational Therapy students on placement at the garden – a fantastic opportunity for the students to appreciate the impact of the garden on health and wellbeing, learning they can take into their careers.
I am currently the safeguarding lead for the trustee body and regularly update policies, all areas I am keen to continue to support for the garden. I value the welcoming environment, the conversations, the companionship, the flowers, foliage, and of course the food, and being a part of this amazing space.
I am really looking forward to becoming a trustee at the Abbey Physic Community Garden. Gardens have always been an important part of my life as they have bought me joy, peace and a safe space when life becomes difficult.
I fell in love with the Abbey Physic Community Garden the first time I visited as it is such a beautiful space. I have enjoyed getting to know the staff and other members and hearing about what the garden means to them. I am looking forward to becoming more involved in the garden’s future.
Having recently moved to Kent I was thrilled to find an opportunity to contribute to Abbey Physic Community Garden as it combines my passion for nature, a holistic approach to mental health and community engagement.
As a professional fundraiser I have spent most of my career in the charity sector and have a background in winning new sources of income and developing partnerships with donors, other charities and businesses. I am also a yoga therapist specialising in mental health work and looking forward to running some sessions in the garden
APCG's staff are keen and helpful to all those seeking the services and support that APCG provides. They all would like to see you and between them they run a variety of fun and useful projects, events and clubs that keep things growing sucessfully!