Job vacancy for a community gardening officer

St Mary’s Community Centre, Bramall Lane, Sheffield S2 4QZ

Community Gardening Officer

TimeBuilders is an innovative and asset based approach to building stronger and more resilient people and communities. The new post of Community Gardening Officer will enable us to build on our early success and to help transform communities across Sheffield.


We need to work to make our communities healthy, happy and productive places to live. We want to build relationships, to make our streets beautiful, to provide safe and playful spaces for our children to grow up in. This sort of work transforms communities and creates happiness. But it doesn’t create financial wealth and so in times of austerity it doesn’t happen.

On the other hand our communities are full of people who are looking for worthwhile work to do and who have the time and skills to do it. But time hangs heavy on their hands because there is no money to employ them. There is a gap.

TimeBuilders bridges this gap. It does it by using the things we already have: unused assets that already exist within communities.

Unused assets

People: their time and skills.

People from all walks of life are members of TimeBuilders: retired professionals, students, people living with mental health difficulties, people who are newly arrived in Sheffield, people who like gardening or cooking or making things, refugees, people who like to get to know other people. What they have in common is the desire and ability to do useful work to improve their communities.

Downtime and spare capacity

Most leisure organisations such as football clubs, theatres and leisure centres have times of spare capacity particularly during off peak hours. Empty seats, swimming pools and gyms are unused assets.

Surplus food. Despite the best efforts of the food industry there is always food that is destined to be wasted. This is an asset which our members use to run weekly cafes in various locations across the city – combatting both social isolation and food poverty.

TimeBuilders puts these assets to work. We identify work that needs to be done in the community: running family playschemes, cooking and serving surplus food, making urban gardens, organising social events, clearing litter from streets or running groups where people share their skills and knowledge with each other. Members earn Time Credits for each hour building the community in this way.

Time Credits can then be spent on rewards such as tickets donated by leisure organisations, coach trips, and meals in the Food Hub café at St Mary’s so that people earn something for their effort – they can take their kids swimming, or go to the theatre or a football match. In these ways TimeBuilders creates the social networks that create and maintain well-being.

TimeBuilders is growing fast. After 2 years operation members are earning nearly 11,000 Time Credits a year and reporting huge improvements in their well-being. We are replicating TimeBuilder hubs with partners in different parts of the city. The implications for how health and social care are delivered in Sheffield are clear and we have ambitious plans for growth. Part of our vision is to develop communities of TimeBuilders running Urban Gardens in either raised beds or unused land across Sheffield. We envisage that this will be predominantly associated with TimeBuilder hubs doing other activities so that activities reinforce each other. This is a new post to enable us to achieve these ambitions.

Community Gardening Officer

The purpose of this role is to work across our projects to involve local people in growing, in developing new skills and in developing relationships with each other. We find that this work is particularly appreciated by people with mental health difficulties and by people who are migrants from rural economies and who have huge agricultural knowledge. It is a popular earning opportunity, especially during the summer months.

Specific responsibilities

  1. To develop the practical concept of the Urban Gardening and create an inspiring narrative to attract people into it.

  2. Identify good urban gardening growing locations and negotiate their use with whoever is responsible.

  3. Explore the use of containers as opposed to growing in the ground in different locations.

  4. Develop work to include a variety of skill levels and interests.

Investigate the feasibility of growing from seed using the polytunnel at St Mary’s, and the opportunity for polytunnels or greenhouses at other locations.

  1. Set up compost production both at St Mary’s and other locations.

  2. Identify people in local communities who are interested in participating in the growing project.

  3. Form teams of TimeBuilders in each area and train/support people to take responsibility for the beds.

  4. Create year round work opportunities.

Skills & Attributes Required

  1. Experience and knowledge of growing vegetables and composting.

  2. Confident in talking to people, welcoming and including people in the project.

  3. Able to organise a group unskilled volunteers.

  4. A commitment to Health and Safety.

  5. Able to use initiative in identifying growing sites.

  6. Able to contribute to the vision and plan of the TimeBuilder project.

  7. Able to travel to other parts of Sheffield.

Hours: Initially 3 days/week. More hours possible as the project develops.

Salary: £17,000 pro rata.

To apply please send your CV and a letter (not more than 2 pages) outlining your suitability for the post to Graham Duncan:

Closing date: Friday 25th March 2016.

<< | Up | >>

Print version

The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2016-02-24 06:51:51.
The content of the page was last modified by Graham Jones on 2016-02-24 06:57:08.

Follow us on Twitter @TheBMessenger

All content is copyright © Burngreave Messenger Ltd. or its voluntary contributors, unless otherwise stated, not to be reproduced without permission. If you have any comments, or are interested in contributing to the Messenger and getting involved, please contact us.

Burngreave Messenger Ltd. Abbeyfield Park House, Abbeyfield Road, Sheffield S4 7AT.
Telephone: 0114 242 0564. Email:
Company Limited by Guarantee: 04642734
Registered Charity: 1130836

The Burngreave Messenger is a community newspaper with editorial independence, funded by the Big Lottery, Foyle Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Scurrah Wainwright Charity, local residents and our advertisers.

Help the Messenger with a donation