The Sussex community garden helping children to improve their social skills

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The Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) runs the Denton Island Community Centre in Newhaven, where they support children to develop their social skills.

Adults and children can learn to work together, discussing different types of plants and the processes they have carried out to plant their seeds. At the family garden groups can come together to enjoy activities that centre around growing and learning through play in a safe and enjoyable space.

Caron Teague, Senior Community Development Worker for the SCDA, said: “Our community gardens are spaces aimed to inspire, explore, gain knowledge and skills for everyone in our community. They are open spaces to plant, play and promote healthy mindfulness.

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"We have local people accessing the gardens ranging from 18 months (at our preschool plant and play groups), a volunteer centre composting project to reduce food waste and growing sustainability, all the way to an adult gardening club. We also have spaces to just sit and be, we are proud of our gardens and believe they provide something for everyone!”

SCDA Denton Island Community GardenSCDA Denton Island Community Garden
SCDA Denton Island Community Garden
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The 5 arts project funded by the Newhaven Arts Growth Fund

A main aim for the family garden is to engage children in growing their own vegetables, and that they then gain a keen interest in eating them too.

Gardening engages all sorts of senses and helps children to develop and recognise them without even realising. As children garden, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing. The anticipation of waiting for whose plant will shoot through the soil first encourages children to interact and engage.

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