At Digbeth Community Garden we enjoy working with other organisations, charities and gardens, making Birmingham a more inclusive and greener place to be. Recently we were invited to the Meena Centre, who are currently renovating a building in Hockley which will be their HQ. The building will help them provide much needed services for supporting women and children refugees and asylum seekers, continuing the work they had been doing in Calais previously. Taken from their website:
“Many of the most vulnerable people who lived in the Calais refugee camp, mainly women and children (as well as single male carers) have ‘made it’ to the UK. Meena wants to ensure that these individuals, many of whom we consider friends, get the support they need throughout the asylum claim & resettlement process.
The aim of Meena is to: ‘ identify any issues, offer support and find solutions so that our friends reach the best possible outcomes in their new lives in the UK. We do this by responding to practical needs, connecting asylum seekers/refugees to the local support networks including advocacy and professional legal advice, and by providing much-needed emotional and psychological support.’
We were invited to work with them as they are interested in creating food growing and sensory garden spaces around the centre that can be used and enjoyed by visitors. From our work at the Digbeth Community Garden and our involvement in other projects we know that access to nature, no matter how small, is vital part of everyone’s well-being. Having the ability to relax tending to a small garden or just sitting within one can dramatically relieve peoples stress levels and encourage social interactions.
We’re very excited to help the Meena centre, alongside some of their friends from the Refugee Community Garden in creating these green spaces and will be working closely with them all over the winter and spring to make it happen. We are looking for anyone who wants to get involved or alternatively could donate any materials (wood, compost, plants) then please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If gardening is not your thing, then please take a look at what The Meena Centre are doing and if you are interested in volunteering with them, they are always looking for help and are lovely people, so find their details below and pay them a visit.
Facebook: The ‘Unofficial’ Women and Children’s Centre