Mudlarks Community Garden
“There are projects that you want to do as a small charity that you couldn’t do otherwise because you can’t generate the funds yourself. HCF has made this possible for us.” Vic Hobson, Mudlarks Community Garden
Vic began her career teaching young people with learning disabilities and it struck her that there weren’t many opportunities for students once they left school.
In 2008 Vic secured a piece of land in Hertford and with her love of the outdoors she set up Mudlarks Community Garden to provide regular volunteering for people with learning disabilities. In Vic’s words Mudlarks, “gives people a reason for getting up in the morning. Being outside, being out in the elements is good for people, and they get a great sense of achievement at the end of the day.”
The first grant Mudlarks ever received came through Hertfordshire Community Foundation, and Vic explains how Hertfordshire Community Foundation was instrumental in making sure people of all abilities can join in.
“Hertfordshire Community Foundation was really significant in the early days when we didn’t have the money to buy things. Whether it’s buying raised beds for our gardeners who aren’t physically able to get down to the ground, or putting in a gridded pathway so that wheelchairs can come down. These are things that we rely on but that are quite expensive. We rely on Hertfordshire Community Foundation as local grant givers to support us.”
Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength, now with the allotment, gardening teams and a café which takes vegetables from the allotment and provides paid work for people with learning disabilities. These days that original handful of volunteers has grown to number 160.
Summing up the world of Mudlarks, Vic explains that “people with learning difficulties have built it, created it, and they have ownership of it. And of course day to day they’re growing their own vegetables, taking good food home with them and are part of this amazing little community.”