A retired widower has described how a community garden in Northwich helped him settle in to his new home and community after moving to the area to be nearer. 

Like most community gardens, there’s much more to Grozone than gardening. Over the last 10 years, this hidden oasis in the heart of Northwich has become a much-loved part of the local community. Grozone is a beautiful, accessible green space where everyone is welcome. Throughout the year it runs activities ranging from gardening and cook and eat sessions, to arts and crafts and music workshops and social events. It also provides outdoor play for parents and toddlers, nature classes for local schools and a chance for children being educated at home to engage with nature.

Visitors and regular volunteers like Richard describe being at Grozone as feeling like part of a family. Here Richard tells his story, in his own words.

Richard, Volunteer at Grozone

“I’ve always been an active person, which stems from my time in the military. But these days I tend to keep fit through walking and gardening.

“I used to run a gardening club where I lived, which I really enjoyed.  My new home doesn’t have a garden, so I was delighted to discover Grozone whilst out walking one day. Now I volunteer here 2 days a week. My family and friends know not to try and arrange anything on Tuesdays and Thursdays because they’re my gardening days.

I like keeping busy, I enjoy meeting people and I love gardening, so Grozone ticks all the boxes for me.

Volunteering has given me the chance to use and share some of the gardening knowledge I’ve gained over the years and to learn from other people.  But I don’t just come here for the gardening. Grozone has helped me make new friends, settle into my new home and contribute to the local community. It’s like a family here. We enjoy each other’s company, we look out for each other and if somebody’s missing one day, we make sure they’re ok.

“I never feel tired when I am at Grozone because I’m doing something I enjoy and I look forward to it.

I love the fact that everything is grown here without using pesticides.  Food and plants don’t come cheap these days, so nothing is wasted and what we grow is shared with the local community. It feels good to be part of something that helps other people.

Everyone is welcome

Even if you don’t have any gardening skills or don’t want to do any gardening, you’ll be made welcome here. It’s just a great place to spend time out in the fresh air and the facilities here are fantastic. There’s a kitchen, toilet and lots of places to shelter and keep warm if the weather turns nasty.

I think every community should have somewhere like Grozone.”