Day 77 of (where is) Lockdown – the Gardeners edition

Day 77 of (wherNational Garden Schemee is?) Lockdown

On day 77 we start off with items of interest to gardeners and then quite a few more news items:

National Garden Scheme reopens

The National Garden Scheme has just started opening gardens.  You have to book a timed entry online (and pay for it!).

Heath House, Layer Breton will be opening on Friday 12th, Sunday 14th and Monday 15th June.  For details, see

Or you can see all gardens in our area which are open this week at  The bookings start on Mondays and only cover that week; you cannot book far in advance.

Home Tour of Heath House

Prefer a free private tour in the comfort of your sitting room? They’ve produced a video tour, made on 5th June:

Stay At Home, Grown Your Own

To support the wellbeing of Colchester residents, a new community project, funded by Essex County Council Public Health grant, has been launched to encourage people to ‘Stay at Home, Grow Your Own’.

Colchester Borough Council in partnership with Abberton Rural Training (ART) are giving away 350 free planting starter kits containing everything you need to start growing small food items at home.

Councillor Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said:

I’m really pleased to be launching this initiative in Colchester. Gardening, and getting back to nature, is good for our health and wellbeing and encourages healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as healthy cooking. This is something everyone can get involved with, whether this be in their garden, balcony or windowsill.

Colchester residents can order a free starter pack by visiting

This is the third Stay At Home, Grow Your Own project to be launched in Essex. All of them are working in partnership with ART, an educational charity providing practical and skills training with a focus on rural skills including countryside and environment, horticulture, woodlands and land management.

Residents can start preparing for their packs to arrive by watching Abberton Rural Training YouTube channel for tips and advice. There are also free resources available for those that want to start growing their own without the packs, using seeds from food such as tomatoes and peppers, and using food packaging to propagate the seeds. To get involved visit the easy to follow online tutorials on ART’s YouTube channel and its website to access information and activity sheets.

If you are growing your own, you can join Abberton Rural Training online community www.Facebook/abbertonruraltraining to help spread the word about how much better you are feeling for getting involved in growing your own.

Carers Week

Today marks the start of Carers Week and this year, CBC want to celebrate the role of unpaid carers during the pandemic.

Did you know there are 6.5m unpaid carers in the UK caring for family or friends with a mental or physical disability? Yet many still see caring as a private matter or many don’t identify themselves as carers, they feel they are just doing what anyone else would so they don’t always know what support is available to them.

Councils offer several benefits and services to make life easier for these people. They are often called ‘carer benefits.’

During the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure the wellbeing of carers.

Action For Family Carers ars are running their wellbeing sessions online, find out more and book here.

NHS Volunteer Responders Update

From Monday 8th June frontline health and care staff will be able to access support from the hundreds of thousands of NHS volunteer responders.  This will help them to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people so they can focus on and continue their vital work.

NHS volunteer responders will be carrying out socially-distanced tasks including helping with delivering food shopping and dropping off personal medication to frontline staff at their homes.

While the country is moving into a new phase in the national effort against this pandemic, health and social care staff on the frontline continue to provide vital care and support to our loved ones, many of whom will still be shielding.

Ordering Recycling Equipment

Since many regular stockist of recycling equipment are closed, CBC is trialling an alternative ordering and delivery service today.  As of today, customers will be able to contact them either by phone or online to order essential recycling equipment for home delivery.  The current voucher system will be temporarily suspended whilst this trial takes place.  CBC will review this service again when the future becomes clearer.

You are able to order any of:

  • Green box for glass or cans,
  • Kerbside or kitchen food caddies,
  • Wheelie bin IF you are in a wheelie bin area, or
  • Green waste sacks.

Essex Police say “Do Even More Online”

Essex Police want to encourage more people to go online to make non-emergency reports, instead of calling 101, so that they can focus efforts on 999 calls and continue to respond to those immediately at risk. They are therefore offering more services online than ever before, to ensure they can assist those asking for help as quickly as possible.

You can still report non-emergency crimes online, as well as doing things like providing feedback and reporting road traffic incidents.  However from today, you will also be able to do much more via their website like:

  • reporting anti-social behaviour,
  • requesting information about yourself or others,
  • telling them about something you have seen or heard, or
  • asking to talk to someone about an existing case you are involved in or report you have made.

They have also launched ‘Live Chat’, a new online text facility where you can message one of their operators online, live time, between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm.

The Good Life