Category Archive Green Matters

ByRichard Corby

Great demand for Green Matters community gardening service

When we launched our gardening service for disadvantaged, disabled and vulnerable people in Uttlesford we could only dream of the levels of demand we are experiencing

Through the deployment of teams of locally sourced volunteers, lead by our Horticultural expert Mark Ropkins, gardens are fully or partially reclaimed, in order to improve local resident’s health and wellbeing and to reduce the risk of trips and falls

When we developed the proposal for Green Matters and took it to potential funders and partners, we thought our first year target of completing 80 gardens was ambitious but achievable.  Less than five months into the project and we have already received 55 referrals from across the district, with more coming in to the office each day.

If you know a person whose garden is a cause for worry, or they feel unsafe stepping out of the back door due to overgrown paths and trip hazards, please get in touch.   You can make a referral through Uttlesford Frontline or if you would like to discuss an application for support you can call Richard or Jacqui at the CVS Uttlesford office on 01371 878400.

Some examples of people we have already helped:

  • A retired married couple where the wife is in need of long-term care. We cut the front lawn and undertook pruning and weeding.  The garden had got out of hand as the husband busy caring for his wife. We have returned the garden to a manageable condition and the gentleman is now happy to continue the work himself.
  • A retired lady living alone.  We have reduced the size of her shrubs as they had become large and unmanageable.  We removed a dangerous branch from one of her trees, as it was split and at risk of falling on the resident.
  • A retired lady living alone.   Her hedges were overgrown and this, together with two small trees, were blocking the light coming in to her house.   We removed the trees and cut back the hedges to open up the property.
  • A gentleman affected by Multiple Sclerosis who was waiting for an operation.  He lives alone and used to love his garden, with a particular fondness for fuchsias.  We cut back the shrubs, weeded and cleared his pathways to improve his access.   This will help him to get around the garden safely when he comes home from hospital.   He is now able to care for fuchsias  in baskets that he doesn’t have to lean down to and can easily keep them watered himself.

We need your help

Our team will visit gardens and help to restore some control over them, but we need the help and support of neighbours and neighbourhoods to keep on top of the gardens in the areas we are working.  If you are able to volunteer and hour or two a week to help a neighbour or person in need stay on top of their garden then please get in touch.

If you are waiting for a visit

If you have been referred and are awaiting an initial visit, we will get to you as soon as we can.    We try to visit a number of properties in the same area on the same day, so may take a week or two getting to you.   We will however be in touch to confirm an appointment for the first visit and advise you of when we expect to start your garden.   Lead time is currently around six weeks.

If you would like to discuss your upcoming visit or need to change the appointment please call Richard or Jacqui on 01371 878400.   We’ll be pleased to help.

ByRichard Corby

First Green Matters garden transformation complete

Green Matters is a gardening project aimed at the vulnerable, elderly and disabled residents in Uttlesford, who have lost control of their gardens

Through the deployment of teams of locally sourced volunteers, these gardens will be fully or partially reclaimed, in order to improve local resident’s health and wellbeing and to reduce the risk of trips and falls

Our first garden transformation was at the home of an elderly lady who has mobility issues and who cannot walk unaided.  Sadly her daughter died at a young age, with her marriage ending a short while later.  Tragically, her son too died, leaving this resident quite isolated.

Our project lead Mark Ropkins, with support from our volunteers, have made this lady’s garden safe again.  We’ve fought back the overgrowth of plants, cut the lawns to a manageable length and with the support of her good and dear neighbours, this lady can now enjoy her garden once again – safely.

If you know someone who would benefit from Green Matters the contact Mark on

Phone: 01371 878400 / 07841632096

Email: mark.ropkins@cvsu.org.uk

If you would like to be a volunteer and be part of the community gardening project then contact us on

Phone: 01371 878400

Email: info@cvsu.org.uk

ByRichard Corby

Green Matters project officially launches

A new gardening project aimed at the vulnerable, elderly, and disabled residents who have lost control of their garden has launched in Uttlesford

Green Matters is run by the Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford (CVSU) and supported by Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council, as well as the Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership (CSP), and Livewell Uttlesford.

Teams of locally sourced volunteers will help these gardens to be fully or partially reclaimed, in order to improve local resident’s health and wellbeing and to reduce the risk of trips and falls.

Through contact with the volunteers, the aim of Green Matters is to reduce loneliness and isolation, increase a sense of connectedness to the local community and have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing in the community.

Project coordinator Mark Ropkins will recruit, train and manage the team of volunteers, who will also carry out risk assessments for each intervention and provide feedback which will be used to monitor the success of the project.

If you know someone who would benefit from Green Matters, please contact Mark on 01371 878400 / 07841 632096 or markropkins.cvsu@outlook.com

BySarah Huggett

Green Matters

We are excited to be launching our Green Matters project starting next month

Lonely, vulnerable, disabled or elderly? Supporting you to take control of your gardens, hedgerows, mini jungles. Feel safer at home & connected by one of our team. Call us on 01371 878400 to express an interest