28 Jan 2010

The Places of Change garden

The Places of Change Garden is an ambitious collaboration between national housing and regeneration delivery agency, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Eden Project, national membership charity for frontline homelessness agencies Homeless Link, and Communities and Local Government (CLG).

This partnership builds on the success of the silver medal award-winning Key Garden at Chelsea in 2009 which saw collaboration from 20 homeless agencies and 200 homeless service users involved at all stages of the Garden’s development. Participants involved consistently reported a huge confidence boost, new skills, and renewed hope for their future.

The 2010 Garden is being funded by CLG and the HCA’s Places of Change programme – a £80m capital funding programme that aims to bring about a step change in the way homeless services are perceived and challenge stereotypes around homelessness. Designed by Eden Project’s award-winning garden designer, Paul Stone, the Garden is 2.5 times the size of the Key Garden.

In developing a Show Garden of this size and scale, roles for approximately 300 services users have already been identified, with many more to follow. They will offer planting, gardening, design, construction, and carpentry during the site development, and on-site hospitality and multi-media facilities during the week of the Show. In doing so, they will develop new skills that will enable them to move onto further training and qualifications, and turn their lives around long-term.

People who find themselves homeless have hidden talents and should not be written off. We want to show that disadvantaged people can contribute to their communities if they are given the right opportunity to find their own place of change.” HCA Chairman Robert Napier

The Places of Change Garden will offer more opportunities for the visitor to explore and discover the stories and individual “places of change” of the people taking part. It will feature a number of designated zones such as crops and food; florestry and leisure; medicine and health; industry and manufacture; and conservation and the environment; all of which act as a metaphor for new skills and the journey embarked on by the individual to get there. The overall impression will be one of craft and enterprise and the importance of teamwork.

Adjacent to the garden there will be trade stands showcasing some of the excellent work undertaken by homeless individuals and teams, which will serve to reinforce the information about the Places of Change programme, as well as that of the participating agencies.

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