Community gardener vacancy – 2021 – Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays

Sunnyside Community Gardens is a long-established open-access community garden in Archway, North Islington. It is maintained and developed by a diverse group of volunteers living in the adjacent council estates and streets supported by part-time community gardeners. The garden’s one-acre site offers a number of different habitats including an enclosed family garden, wildflower meadow, wildlife pond, a wooded nature reserve and a plant nursery. We also maintain a historically important formal garden in the adjacent Elthorne Park.

Founded by local residents in 1977, Sunnyside has been a registered charity since 1992. It has a long history of providing therapeutic horticulture for people with disabilities, and those recovering from serious illness.

From 2021 we will be delivering a National lottery-funded three year Community Hub project where we will expand our work to provide greater opportunities for the local community to become involved in our activities and to enjoy the benefit of this important local resource.

We are now seeking to recruit a second community gardener, or gardeners, to join our community for up to three days a week. These days are fixed to Sunday, Monday and/or Tuesday.

The Community Hub project is looking for a community gardener for two days (Sunday and Monday) and will be a fixed term contract for three years with the potential to extend if we obtain further funding for the role. Pay will be £28,000 pro rata.

The Cook and Grow project is looking for a therapeutic Gardener and will involve working with our Tuesday group and is also available with separate funding for one year. We are currently applying for grants to extend this funding.

Please state in your application which role/s you are interested in. Our preference is for one person to do all three days, but we will consider applications for just one of the roles.

Overview

The Community gardener— will work on Sundays & Mondays and will be responsible for developing and leading two new gardening-based projects. They will also have lead responsibility for organising and managing use of Sunnyside’s plant nursery.

The Therapeutic gardener will be to take over the running of an existing group (on Tuesdays) for volunteers with support needs.

In your work, you will utilise your excellent communication skills to engage with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and varied age groups, adapting gardening activities to ensure all can participate, including those with English as an additional language. Along with other staff and trustees, you will help foster an inclusive and mutually supportive Sunnyside community.

Working arrangements

  1. You will be based at the main Sunnyside Community Garden in Hazellville Road.
  2. The rate of pay is calculated on the basis of an 8 hour day. You will be expected to be on-site and to actively engage with volunteers and service-users throughout the six hours Sunnyside is open for organised activities (10am-4pm), including at lunchtime when you will be responsible for organising or preparing lunch as well as sitting and socialising with volunteers.
    One additional hour is allocated to provide time for any planning, preparation and record keeping necessary to fulfil the role, and for any meetings outside of your normal working hours. This can be worked off-site (except for meetings). The final hour is paid in lieu of breaks.
  3. If employed as the Community gardener, you will be allowed up to 2 Mondays per month free of volunteer support responsibilities. You will be expected to work independently on planning and coordinating with visiting groups, preparatory work for volunteer gardening sessions or garden maintenance. Once a month you will run the long established Monday Green Gym volunteering.
  4. You will report to the site manager. You will also work in liaison with Sunnyside’s existing community gardener who runs two established volunteer gardening days on Mondays and Fridays and will share with them the responsibility for horticultural management of our main site.  The manager will hold a weekly team meeting with the two Community Gardeners every Monday morning.
  5. You will also be expected to liaise at a strategic level with members of the gardening and conservation sub-committee and contribute towards our plans to develop and maintain the gardens.

Job Descriptions

Community Hub Gardener:  Specific responsibilities

  1. Sunday Gardening Group. The post holder will develop and lead a new gardening group primarily for members of the local community unable to join in our current weekday activities because of, for example, work or care responsibilities. The main activity of the group will be to propagate and grow plants in our nursery area for use in our gardens, and to sell at our established monthly First Sunday plant sale and social event (which you will be expected to attend and run along with trustees and volunteers who already run it.)
    This group will be open to all, including children accompanied by a parent.
  2. Nursery management. The post holder will have lead responsibility for organisation and management of our plant nursery, including re-development of the area once land temporarily taken over for building work on an adjacent site is returned to us at the end of 2021.
  3. Monday Community engagement days.  The post holder will devise, develop and promote gardening-focused activity days to local organisations such as schools, supported living centres, community and cultural groups. The aim will be to provide their members with opportunity to become familiar with the garden and enjoy the benefits of their natural environment. The initial target for this project is for you to run 12 activity days in the first 12 months. Once a month you will run the Monday Green Gym volunteering.

Therapeutic Gardener: Specific responsibilities

  1. Tuesday Cook and Grow Group: The post holder will be responsible for leading the established weekly gardening group, providing therapeutic horticulture for volunteers with special support needs for physical disabilities or who are living with or recovering from physical or mental health conditions.
    This group works mainly in the plant nursery growing vegetables which can be used for lunches which they prepare with help from the community gardener. 

Common Responsibilities:

  1. Plan and lead work programmes appropriate to the needs and abilities of volunteers and service users.
  2. Welcome and induct new volunteers
  3. Help volunteers and service users learn and develop gardening and conservation skills, providing or organising (e.g. through buddying-up) the support they need to join in activities.
  4. Teach correct and safe use of tools by volunteers and others working in the garden.
  5. Ensure all work is carried out in compliance with Sunnyside’s Health & Safety policies and codes of practice for specific hazardous activities. The Community Gardener is expected to lead by example on this and has the authority to halt any activity s/he deems unsafe
  6. organise volunteers to prepare) lunch and have lunch with volunteers.
  • Ensure tools are put away after each work session
  • Organise watering rotas for allocated areas of the garden.
  • Actively participate in the Sunnyside Community WhatsApp group.

Person Specification

Essential (both posts)

  • Experience, knowledge and competence in horticulture
  • Experience in managing and supporting volunteers
  • Experience working in community settings
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Demonstrable ability to manage own time, workload and priorities
  • Competence in preparing and cooking simple meals
  • Experience and skills in working with a range of people from a very diverse range of backgrounds and a wide range of abilities

Additional Essential experience, (Therapeutic Gardener)

  • Experience of supporting people with mental health difficulties
  • Experience of supporting people with learning and/or physical difficulties

Desirable (both posts)

  • Knowledge & competence in nature conservation
  • Experience of working with groups or individuals in improving health
  • Basic knowledge of healthy eating
  • Experience working with corporate volunteers
  • First Aid certificate
  • Food Hygiene certificate

As both jobs will involve contact with children and vulnerable adults, a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check will be required in the event of a successful application. A past criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining the position.

The community gardener will be available to attend the monthly both;

  • A hour meeting with the Gardening and Conservation Subcommittee outside of their normal working hours.
  • A hour line management meeting with the Garden manager

Sunnyside is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building a work environment that is both diverse and accessible. You will receive consideration for employment regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, or age.

The requirements for outdoor work in areas with access difficulties should be borne in mind by applicants. Sunnyside will where necessary make reasonable adjustments to enable you to fulfil your role

To Apply:

Please send via email a CV and short cover letter outlining how your experience relates to the person specification for the post(s) you are interested in to Anna Portch,  the Sunnyside Manager, at sunnysidecommunitygardencentre@gmail.com

Application deadline – Friday 2nd July 2021

Interviews – Tuesday 6th July 2021

Working hours – 10 am – 4pm + 1 hour

Role to start – June 2021 (three month probation)

Wage – £28,000 pro rota fixed term contract

Additional – Training opportunities available

Holiday, Pension, Sick pay etc. – Our staff policy will be available to applicants when they get offered the position. Sunnyside Community Gardens provides the statutory minimum or more in all cases.