West Suffolk Hive began in January 2020 to bring the community together to learn new skills and work together in the development and care of the community garden site and the environment. It is a safe retreat providing accessible facilities, committed to decreasing loneliness and increasing community cohesion. West Suffolk Hive has created outdoor zones, each with a shelter, handwashing facilities and a toilet, enabling them to run educational workshops for small groups in ‘bubbles’.
A grant from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund enabled the organisation to install a disabled access toilet and handwashing station, making the site accessible to a family who had struggled to spend time together outside the home due to disability. The family are now volunteering at West Suffolk Hive and helping to further improve the accessibility of the site.
The disabled access toilet has also enabled West Suffolk Hive to offer courses and workshops to SEND students, and the organisation is working with the Priory School Bury St Edmunds to design a course to offer work-skills, communication and team building.
“We are very grateful to the Suffolk Community Foundation for supporting us to become a community space that is able to welcome all members of the community. Creating an educational and community hub while maintaining proper and safe social distancing, handwashing facilities, and keeping up to date with all additional legislation has been challenging but with loneliness on the rise due to Covid-19 restrictions, the opportunity to build a local hub seemed more important than ever.”