Erleigh Road Community Garden can be found behind the Parish Hall next to St Luke’s Church in Reading. The award-winning garden gives local people the chance to grow their own food and work together outdoors. However, the Covid-19 crisis has meant finding new ways of doing things.

The garden has benefited from a £2,500 development fund grant for its work, including a new greenhouse.

Naomi German, garden coordinator, explains: “When we could no longer run community sessions, we thought one way to keep people involved would be to distribute seeds. We asked our volunteers to start them off, ready for use in the garden to help keep it productive.”

Lots of people volunteered to grow seedlings, which so far have included pumpkins, squash, beans, rainbow chard, cucumbers and sweetcorn. Most of these are growing in the garden.

“We also wanted to encourage people to plant and grow in their own gardens, even when space is short, or it’s very shaded,” said Naomi.

For this reason, Naomi started the Tiny Veg Patch page on Facebook and Instagram. Here local gardeners can get tips and tricks for making the most of whatever they have available. Naomi said: “It’s been lovely seeing photos of what people are growing at home. Children have loved to get involved too, in particular growing beautiful sunflowers – which are easy to grow and look spectacular!”

It is not yet possible to set up a rota of helpers in the garden, for safety reasons as the hall and garden is being used by an NHS childcare club. “It’s going to be a challenge, especially because it has been so dry, and that means a lot of watering,” said Naomi, “but we want to keep people safe. We hope it won’t be long before we can open the garden up again.”

For more see @erleighroadcommunitygarden on Instagram or the garden’s Facebook page.

This is one of many fantastic stories of churches supporting their communities across our Diocese. Read more here. Do you have a Covid-19/lockdown story to tell? However big or small, we want to hear what you and your church are doing to help. Email communications@oxford.anglican.org with your news.