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Grove Hill’s Genesis Project secures funding from Esh Construction

The funding will be used to provide support and deliver environmental education for more than 250 people in the area

A Middlesbrough project which will use gardening activities to improve environmental and sustainability awareness, tackle food poverty and promote positive mental wellbeing, has been successful in its recent bid for funding.

The funding has been awarded to The Genesis Project via the Greener Communities programme, a grant-making initiative which was launched by Esh Construction earlier this year in partnership with County Durham Community Foundation.

Based in the centre of Grove Hill, one of the most deprived wards in England, The Genesis Project provided support and interventions in the area for more than 15 years before becoming a registered charity in October 2020.

Led by Reverend Deacon Kath Dean and a team of volunteers, all support services – which include an eco-shop and a lunch club – run from St Oswald’s Church. The adjacent community garden has since been transformed into a welcoming outdoor space where activities are delivered for children, young people and families from the Grove Hill, Beechwood and Saltersgill area.

The funding will employ a second garden curator for the Genesis Garden which will double the amount of support they can offer those within the community. The garden is used to grow fresh produce for those in need and is a space for environmental education sessions with local children and adults. It also offers a place for reflection where people can seek peace and comfort, while providing an opportunity for volunteers to connect with service users and offer support for more serious issues such as extreme poverty, domestic abuse, mental health or addiction. It is hoped that it will benefit over 250 people in the local area.

Chris Hale, pre-construction director at Esh Construction, said: “The work delivered by The Genesis Project is invaluable for those in need of support within the local community. As the cost of living continues to rise, projects like this will be key in helping those who are affected most throughout these tough times, whether this is through the growth of fresh produce to provide food for families or advice and guidance on more serious issues, including mental health.

“We are proud to pledge this funding to improve to the Genesis Garden and allow even more people to access their support services and environmental education.”

Reverend Deacon Kath Dean said: “We are so pleased to have received this funding for an assistant gardener. We have now over 200 families coming to our project each week for food and clothes and the garden is a wonderful place of peace for them to have some respite when they come. Our new gardener will mean that they have someone to show them round and maybe have a chat whilst doing so, also encouraging people to come to learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.”

Esh’s Greener Communities programme will help communities become ‘greener’ through carbon reduction, environmental improvement and education projects. A fund of £50,000 was allocated to support projects which are centred around green skills, climate resilience, improving green spaces and habitats.

Esh Construction has recently completed work on the redevelopment of Rivers House into 18 supported housing apartments with Thirteen Group and is set to commence work in the coming months on a raft of affordable homes in the area.

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