We have received fantastic support from a range of organisations and funders to whom we are extremely grateful for enabling us carry out everything we do.
Volunteering Wales Grant – WCVA/Welsh Government
From July 2021 to March 2022 we received funding through WCVA, from the Volunteering Wales Grant fund from Welsh Government, to create increased volunteering opportunities at Cardiff Salad Garden.
Funding enabled us to run volunteering sessions at our polytunnel and greenhouse in all seasons. It also allowed us to expand a new partnership with Grassroot Youth Service and work with Aspie Roots, their young people with Aspergers group, to help them to make a nature garden from an overgrown patch behind Cardiff Castle. We had 30 volunteers engage with the whole project with many attending regularly to join in volunteering in the gardens, cycling salad deliveries, sharing meals, making friends, and gaining in house training.
We are so proud of the great team of volunteers who worked so hard and learnt to become expert salad pickers and planters. We discovered lizards, frogs, made wildlife spaces, shared food and cups of tea, had some lovely and informative talks from experienced gardeners at the Cardiff Council Nursery Team and guided sessions from the Bute Park Education Officer.
See our Impact page for more details on our Evaluation.
Cardiff City Council
We worked with Cardiff City Council for several years to get our idea off the ground and the licence to use the greenhouse. They have a great team in Bute Park and we buy all our seedlings from the Nursery on-site – grown to order specifically for us. This is a great partnership, reducing our travel miles for seedlings to a few steps next door!
In 2017 Sophie was awarded a Do-It Award which funded the start up costs of turning the empty greenhouse into the salad garden you see today.
In 2020 Sophie was awarded a Grow-It Award to build the project and step up our offering. This also funded our polytunnel, doubling our space. This endorsement of Sophie’s skills, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial drive to establish a project with social impact was a great achievement.
Unltd have also provided fantastic mentoring, courses and lots of support throughout the project.
Awards for All
We were awarded a grant from the Community Fund to initially pilot and establish our volunteer sessions in 2018. Out of this emerged our regular weekly sessions. In 2018 and 2019 Cardiff Salad Garden ran 2 weekly sessions in the garden as an open door for individuals to come and volunteer with all things salad related. Sessions ended with tea and biscuits or a weekly shared lunch. The Awards for All Grant in 2018 which enabled development of the volunteer experience and allowed us to have a little experimentation with what worked and what didn’t, shaping the sessions we have today.
Community Foundation Wales
The Wesley Fund in 2019 enabled us to work with John Whitehead of the Bottega Project who created bespoke trolley beds to innovatively utilise unused space between the greenhouses. This enabled us to expand our growing area, increasing the salad produced and the space available for volunteers to get involved in the project.
The Community Foundation Wales funded our socially distanced return to volunteering programme which was carried out partly on-site and partly through at home. We enjoyed some weeks of in person sessions at the garden, in mini groups of 2 to allow for social distancing. During lockdown these sessions were repurposed into a growing at home project offering house plants, chilli and tomato growing kits and seed sprouting kits to volunteers who were not able to attend sessions. These were followed up by zoom sessions and doorstep check ins.
Food For Life Get Togethers
Our innovative and exciting Salad Circle – a marquee type structure with living salad walls – was funded to provide a space to hold workshops for intergenerational get togethers around food and growing.
In 2020 we were awarded a Covid fund for our ‘Grow at Home’ project to grow and distribute plants to help people in lock down grow more food at home. We worked with our own volunteers, South Riverside Community Development Centre, Llamau, Grassroots- Cardiff Youth Service to distribute over 4000 plants across Cardiff.
Mark Drakeford came to the garden to meet members of BabyRoots Mother and child group from Grassroots and hear about their experiences of growing at home in lockdown with plants Cardiff Salad Garden gave them.
These projects were under the umbrella of Food Cardiff and it was fantastic to work alongside some other brilliant organisations working for increased growing in the city – Green Squirrel, Grow Cardiff, Global Gardens, Federation of City Farms and Gardens, Edible Cardiff and Eggseeds.
The great challenge of 2020 was the pandemic which hit us hard. We lost over 75% of our restaurant customers in 24 hours and had to close our doors to our volunteers. However we worked tirelessly to turn our set up into a home delivery service for small bags of salad and also worked to find ways we could support our volunteers at home with doorstep check ins, salad growing packs, zoom sessions and socially distanced sessions at the garden when the regulations allowed. 2020 was a hard but also rewarding year, lots of successes came out of such a challenging situation.
We also teamed up with South Riverside Community Development Centre to join in their Veg give-aways and ran zoom sessions on how to grow a range of salad and vegetables. Socially distanced monthly give-aways provided over 70 households per month with seasonal veg plugs and flowers, pots and soil for their gardens. We had a fantastic (but very wet!!) growing celebration with prizes awarded by the Cardif Mayor Daniel De’Ath.
In 2019 Camilla came to volunteer at Cardiff Salad Garden. She was keen, enthusiastic and was starting some exciting projects of her own. Over the year she came regularly to CSG and in 2020 her project StarGarAllotment a community garden at Pengam Permanent Allotments and the Star Hub in Splott was becoming well established. Sophie was able to take the project lots of salad seedlings and give the team there some advice on growing large quantities of salad through the season. Camilla and StarGarAllotment grew so much produce – including loads of salad – that they were able to make weekly donations to Oasis Cardiff for their asylum seeker and refugee meals and to the Splott Hub food bank. It’s great to work with other community groups to help increase access to growing and healthy food for all the community.