The original HOPE trustees were all involved in planning the ARK house in Arbroath, which opened in 1990. ARK provides housing throughout Scotland for adults with learning disabilities.
Through their involvement with ARK, the Trustees became aware that more than just housing was needed – there was a lack of adequate activity for people with learning disabilities living in Angus. It became apparent that some of these individuals would benefit from some kind of outdoor activity and there were limited places available in the adult resource centres at that time. Some people with learning disabilities had quite a lot of gardening experience from their previous institutional lives – gardening seemed the obvious choice.
One of the founder members of HOPE is Cedric de Voil, a former local GP who was awarded the MBE for his work in the charitable sector. As Chair of HOPE for twenty two years Cedric has overseen the magnificent and ‘organic’ growth of the charity. The Board are delighted that Cedric is still an active Trustee member.
HOPE Garden was set up in the grounds of Hospitalfield House and work began in 1994.
This area itself has an ancient history – the name Hospitalfield harks back to the 13th century when there was a plague and leprosy hospice on the site. It is particularly apt that an organic garden serving the local community is once again in operation here, on land which may have once been used to grow food and medicinal herbs to serve the hospice.
In the beginning, HOPE Garden was totally dependent on volunteers to make the project work. One of the early volunteer gardeners, Mark Barthorpe, helped to progress the garden from an overgrown plot to a working garden. Thanks to a Lottery grant, Mark was the first employee of HOPE. Sadly he died before his hard work came to fruition.
The Garden has been supported over the years by many grants and trusts that have provided funding for salaries and equipment.You can read more about these in the Funders section.
In 2000 we started an organic vegetable box scheme, delivering 20 boxes a week to Arbroath residents. At its peak, the scheme had over 60 households receiving a supply of organic vegetables, fruit and herbs during the growing season. Some were as far afield as, Montrose, Carnoustie and Monifieth.
In 2012 this was replaced by our on-site Shop in the Garden which allows people to come and see the Garden where the produce is grown. One of our most enthusiastic supporters in 2018 comes over regularly from Fife to buy the weekly organic vegetables and fruit..
The Shop in the Garden opening hours in 2018 are:
Monday to Friday from 12.00 till 4.00 pm
Saturday (during the summer months only) 10.00 am to 4.00 pm