Niamh’s Notes – Loaves & Fishes at RHS Bridgewater

In this new series, Niamh's Notes, we hear from our ESG Director Niamh following her visits to our charitable partners, giving an insight into the work they do and the personal touches that make them such wonderful causes.

Octagonal planting boxes

Niamh’s Notes – Loaves & Fishes at RHS Bridgewater

Being outdoors, working and engaging with people, getting your hands dirty, are all natural everyday activities we can take for granted, but the benefits on our physical and mental wellbeing are immense, and should never be underestimated. Add to this the opportunity of growing food to take home, looking ahead and planning future projects, and you have a real recipe for success and that inner happy feeling – the feel good effect!

It was a joy, privilege and absolute pleasure stopping in at RHS Bridgewater to join our friends from Salford Loaves and Fishes, as they tended their beds in the community garden. How lucky was I that it turned out to be harvesting day – an abundance of lettuce, onions, broad beans, spring onions, nasturtiums, rosemary, strawberries and some radishes and the last black currants! All this planned and grown by the team from Salford. Volunteers Anna and Sheila, alongside Faye from the RHS, were all organised. Visitors milled about. Adults and children enjoyed tasting the fruit and veg, and learning about the ease with which they could grow their own produce. A real treat – bunches of sweet pea, a childhood favourite, shared with volunteers and visitors alike.

A candid discussion on funding, staffing and challenges, and a task to draw up a wish list for the outdoor space back at the centre so that growing, harvesting and tasting could happen closer to home, proved very fruitful! Chat turned to water butts, seeds, tools and much more!

Car boot full, and a very strong smell of onions, I headed for Salford, and was delighted to be able to get the produce to the kitchen there. Lunch the following day was full of home grown, fresh, tasty produce.

Range of home grown vegetables on a bench

A morning so well spent, meeting truly wonderful people, laughing and sharing, refilling my “belief-in-people” and my personal gratitude bowl, and heading to the office with the scent of sweet pea and vision of what can be achieved with a terrific team.

Thank you all at RHS Bridgewater for facilitating this and also to the volunteers and team at Salford Leaves and Fishes for a fun filled and inspiring time. – Niamh