Volunteering at the Vetch – Bringing students and community together

By Hamish Lawson

Discovery Student Volunteering Swansea is dedicated to helping out with different community projects around Swansea city, creating a connection between Swansea students and community members.

The organisation is involved in around 30 different projects around the city, projects that make up an ecosystem of hidden gems throughout the city. One such project is
The Vetch Community Garden project.

Tucked alongside the Sandfields housing estate, the beach and Swansea prison, The Vetch (named after the old Swansea City football ground) is a community garden with 50 community members and holding around numerous flower beds. Established in 2012 the garden has become a hub for both lifelong members of the Swansea community and more recent arrivals to the city. Swansea students have been helping out at the community garden since 2016 and are currently led and organised by Discovery Student President Sophie Hocking. Swansea University student volunteers help out with, building work, heavy lifting, composting and all kinds of jobs that are required to maintain the numerous separate flower beds. As well as individual flowerbeds, the garden is also home to a number of bee hives, which produce honey for members, as well as an outdoor clay pizza oven, which is often used to prepare lunch for gardeners.
The Vetch is the kind of place you don’t come across often as a student in Swansea. Walking amongst the flowers, vegetables; assorted handmade decorations and plant pots can be a break for any student stressed out with coursework deadlines and exams. Chatting to members of the community garden gave new insights into the history of the city. One gardener with a wealth of stories about the city is Colin, now 83 he has lived in Swansea all his life, and was happy recounting tales of the old football stadium which was knocked down, and occupied the land before the community garden was built (the original centre circle of the pitch is still visible).


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