To support the wellbeing of Chelmsford residents, the Chelmsford Community Voluntary Services and Abberton Rural Training (ART) are working in partnership to bring a new community initiative to encourage residents to ‘Stay At Home, Grow Your Own’

Cllr Marie Goldman Staying at Home and Growing Her own Veg

Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Cllr Marie Goldman, Portfolio Holder for Connected Chelmsford, said: “Staying at home and shielding shouldn’t prevent anyone from being able to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours. Cooking with fresh ingredients and being active at home can play a big role in maintaining good physical and mental health. This initiative is an excellent way to encourage the most vulnerable individuals and families to be part of something positive in the community. I am delighted to see that Abberton Rural Training are now working with Chelmsford CVS volunteers to deliver 50 free Grow Your Own starter kits to those who most need them.”

Abberton Rural Training is a rural training Charity operating across NE Essex and has created the free packs, along with a range of online learning resources and tutorial films on YouTube for people to access for free.

Jacqui Stone, the Chief Exec of ART said, “Growing your own produce at home can happen from your windowsill, a window box, on a balcony, a courtyard or garden. You can create seed trays from newspaper, planting tubes from toilet roll inserts and recycled household waste, including yogurt pots, margarine containers and plastic bottles. Being able to pick fresh lettuce for your salad or sandwich is unbeatable!

Anyone can grow their own. It is very satisfying to grow something from seed and rewarding to look after your plant until it is ready to eat!

Everyone can take part in the online learning for free (even if you don’t have a pack); we would really encourage people to go to and visit our ‘Grow Your Own’ page to see how easy it is”

The initiative hopes to introduce how growing your own can bring a more nutritious, diverse and healthy diet as fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, and herbs can be used for seasoning to replace added salt.

Working in the garden provides a light form of physical activity to keep active at home, which brings a range of benefits to mental and physical health. Being outdoors boosts vitamin D levels (under certain sunlight conditions) and offers stress relief and support for emotional wellbeing.

The hope is that residents across Chelmsford will get involved with Growing their own, and will take what they have learned forward into the future which will save money on fruit and vegetables, as well as having wider environmental benefits.

Lorraine Jarvis, CEO of Chelmsford CVS said “We wanted to support the scheme to help people who are struggling and feeling isolated at this difficult time. Our team of Volunteers have been working really hard to support some really vulnerable people who haven’t left their homes now for many months and who have been unable to access their usual support networks due to the restrictions. We are looking forward to seeing their delight in using their Grow your Own Pack, growing in skills confidence and connecting with volunteers who are happy to share their gardening knowledge.”

To get involved visit ART’s YouTube Channel for online tutorials which are easy to follow and ART’s Website to access information and activity sheets.

If you are growing your own please join Abberton Rural Training online community to help spread the word about how much better you are feeling for getting involved in growing your own.

Don’t forget to tag your photos and social media posts to encourage others to grow their own too! #StayAtHomeGrowYourOwn #livewell #abbertonruraltraining @ChelmsfordCVS

Abberton Rural Training are encouraging people to think about what’s next after Covid19, and suggest those that want to boost health and wellbeing, as well as expand knowledge about growing and planting should consider signing up for one of their online qualifications or join one of the courses in September.

ART Courses are FREE for people 19+ who are not in education, employment or other training and residents can register their interest or find out more by emailing

For any further support for physical or mental wellbeing, please contact Live Well Link Well on 0300 303 9988 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm) or email

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