Players Help Edible Gardening Project To Thrive

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The Edible Gardening Project is based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and aims to help people learn the skills they need to grow their own food. We run drop in sessions, workshops and training for our visitors and local community gardening projects. We strive to give the local community knowledge that will help them to lead healthier lives in a more sustainable way and we are passionate about reconnecting people with plants.

Thanks to continued support from Players of People’s Postcode Lottery we have been able to extend further the reach of our work. This year we have dedicated several plots for use by local community groups. These groups visit the garden on a weekly basis and look after their own space with help and guidance from community gardeners Ben and Andy and our team of wonderful volunteers.

The Rock Trust, Edinburgh and Lothains Regional Equality Council, Nari Kallyan Shangho and Anam Cara Open Circle all have plots on site and will look after them for the duration of the growing season. The groups have planned their plots and chosen what to grow, sown seed, weeded, maintained, watered and have recently started to harvest. Even in a small space groups grow herbs, salads, peas, beans, potatoes, beetroot, and courgettes to name but a few.

We hope to provide the individuals involved with a valuable experience. This is what Edinburgh and Lothains Regional Equality Council say about the project: ‘The skills of self-sufficiency that we learn are … important for future generations. Encouraging children to eat healthily, teaching them that their food grows from the earth that we all depend on and nurturing environmental awareness is important to us. Nothing is more rewarding than taking some produce home and cooking a healthy meal.

The young people from the Rock Trust had something to say too
‘I used to think gardening was boring but now I really enjoy it!’
‘It’s good to learn where your food comes from’
And finally, ‘All young people should get the chance to do this!’

The people involved in the project have the opportunity to learn lifelong skills in a relaxed and informal way in the glorious setting of the botanic garden. The project has lots of opportunities for other visitors too. The team work in the garden every Monday and Tuesday afternoon from 1pm until 3pm. Drop in to take a look around the productive garden and speak to the team for edible gardening seasonal advice. We also hold special events including our Harvest Festival on the 20th and 21st of September. For more details please visit our website here.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. To date, our players have supported this amazing organisation with £250,000 to continue its study of plant science, carry out vital conservation work and encourage people to grow their own food.

Uniting To Protect Plant Biodiversity

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Our trees are under threat, from what has been described as a ‘tidal wave of pathogens’. Just five major pest and disease outbreaks were recorded in Britain during the whole of the 20th Century, including two of Dutch Elm disease. So far this Century, this figure has more than doubled. And if our trees are under threat then so are the hundreds of other species – including birds, insects, mammals and fungi – that depend on them at some stage during their lifecycle.

With thanks to players of People’s Postcode lottery, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are spear-heading an ambitious project to collect and store seeds from all tree and shrub species from all parts of the UK.

This is no small feat when you think about it. In the first 5 years the project aims to collect at least 50 species from across their native distribution. The UK has been divided by the Forestry Commission into 24 seed zones and we will collect each species from each zone in which it occurs. Based on the 50 top-ranked species in our target list, we expect to be conserving around 1,200 seed collections, each comprising seed from around 30 trees.

How on earth do you go about this? By harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of the great British public! The numerous conservation organisations across the UK are witness to the value placed on wildlife by people and communities.  From the professional forestry sector with an interest in promoting biodiversity to Wildlife Trusts, community environmental organisations working with schools to people who manage their own woodlands, there is huge interest in protecting native trees and woodlands for future generations.  So, over the past six months I have been talking to many of these organisations, sharing the project’s vision and developing plans to build a truly national tree seed collection. Plans are quickly coming together towards the main autumn collecting season when numerous seed collectors will be out collecting seeds for the project.

The seeds will be stored in the world’s largest seed bank, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) at Wakehurst Place and our partners will be part of a network delivering the most important plant conservation initiative in the world.

Recently our friends at People’s Postcode Lottery made this short film about the MSB and the UK Tree Seed Project. Thank you to everyone who plays People’s Postcode Lottery and helps to generate funding to support this work.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Simon Kallow, UK National Tree Seed Project Officer at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This amazing organisation has received £250,000 from our players to date to save and study plantlife.

Camp CEO To Inspire Young Women

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Money raised by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery helps Girlguiding to give girls experiences they would not get anywhere else. This year players will fund a fantastic mentoring opportunity, Camp CEO. The event gives young women a chance to develop their confidence, entrepreneurship and leadership skills by spending time with professional women of Chief Executive level.

The event will take the form of a five-day camp, giving the girls and their mentors time together to develop their career and life aspirations, as well as to take part in adventurous activities and challenges. This innovative project has been set up to tackle the chronic lack of women in leadership positions and counterbalance the effect it can have on young women’s aspirations. Girlguiding’s key piece of research, the Girls’ Attitude Survey, has revealed that 66% of girls aged 11-21 don’t think there are enough women in leadership positions.

Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, raising their aspirations and encouraging them to be a powerful force for good, shaping their communities and the wider world. Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery are helping us to make a real, positive difference in the lives of girls.

“I think that developing leadership skills with Girlguiding from such a young age has set me up for life, it’s given me a confidence that I don’t think I would have developed otherwise…I think Camp CEO is a really fantastic opportunity for girls to receive such focused support and improve leadership skills!” – Morgan, 16, a member of The Senior Section from Kent.

As a charity we are focused on increasing our work in communities with high levels of deprivation and disadvantage. We employ development workers to encourage more girls and volunteers to join in hard-to-reach communities. Many of the girls and young women who will be invited to our Camp CEO event will be from these priority areas.

Players have to date raised £150,000 to support Girlguiding’s work with girls and young women, helping us make a fantastic difference to the lives of girls and young women all over the UK with exciting and inspiring events like Camp CEO.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Girlguiding, an amazing organisation that gives girls a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships and gain valuable life skills.