Southcote GrowAllot Garden Engagement Worker

Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC)

RISC is the UK’s largest Development Education Centre and a registered charity (World Education Berkshire). We work locally with schools and community organisations, raising the profile and promoting action for sustainable development, international issues, equality and social justice. RISC has long-standing and far reaching connections to the voluntary and education sectors in the UK and the Global South and is part of national urban agriculture networks including the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens and Sustain.

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Food4Families Project

The Food4Families project is managed by RISC and was initially funded through BIG Lottery Local Food starting in 2009. It has developed 20+ community food-growing gardens around Reading where local communities can manage land in their own neighbourhoods for the sustainable growing of food. Based on local school and community group sites we engage all members of the community with professional horticultural tutors to build skills and understanding in food production.

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Southcote GrowAllot

In 2012 Food 4 Families, in partnership with the Big Lottery and Local residents transformed a piece of derelict land at Florian Gardens, Southcote into a thriving allotment growing fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables.

Southcote Growallot promotes community involvement, ownership, empowerment, cohesion and spirit through gardening for families and individuals.  It is accessible by all members of the community who can attend free supported sessions or become members and attend in their own time. Everything grown is distributed out amongst those who attend with the surplus being given away for a donation to local residents in Coronation Sq.

See their Facebook page for more information.

The garden is managed by a constituted group of local residents and volunteers who meet monthly during the growing season and have set up a bank account.

Job Description

Job Title: Southcote GrowAllot Garden Engagement Worker

Responsible to: Food4Families Co-ordinator

Responsible for: Volunteers on site

Pay: £20 per hour  Hours of work: 4 hrs/wk May-Nov 2021

Place of work: Southcote GrowAllot Community Allotment and wider neighbourhood


Whilst the garden has a strong cohort of regular users we would love to see the garden used by more local residents.  We are recruiting a community engagement worker with some gardening knowledge, who can use innovative community outreach and engagement activities to encourage the local community especially those living in the neighbouring flats and residents with BAME and low income backgrounds to get involved and get growing.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Increase involvement of local people in Southcote GrowAllot
  • Run regular mid week sessions, and attend occasional sessions at the weekend to build strong relationships with existing users and develop a good understanding of what goes on
  • Run children’s activities/events during the school holidays
  • Develop and sustain positive relationships with a range of people, including residents, community leaders, local groups and organisations, schools and local authorities
  • Working with the management committee organise and hold a wide range of events that draw in and involve local residents, school, corporate volunteers and other partners
  • Plan engaging and participative activities, which are designed to build participants’ sustainable food growing skills and ability to plan and manage the allotment
  • Introduce new visitors to the garden ensuring that they remain engaged and involved
  • Use a wide variety of methods to promote SGA sessions and events locally including going door to door and representing the garden at different local events
  • Spend time getting to know local residents and work together to overcome barriers to their involvement
  • Attend SGA and SCA committee meetings as well as linking up with other local networking groups when appropriate
  • Collect audit information required by funders and ensure personal and project journals are kept up-to-date


  • Collect audit information required by funders and Food4families and ensure records are kept up to date
  • To work at all times in a way that is consistent with RISC’s ethos and values, promote its work more generally and support its vision of sustainable development
  • To undertake any other duties, commensurate with the nature of the post, that could reasonably be expected
  • Ensure effective communication and liaison with the Southcote GrowAllot management committee and other paid works involved in the site
  • To contribute to the overall development of the Food4Families project through project staff meetings/ trainings

Person Specification




Experience, Knowledge and Understanding



Experience of working with a variety of different stakeholders, including residents, children, local groups, and organisations across the voluntary and public sectors.



Practical knowledge of sustainable food growing methods



Experience and understanding of effective team working



Experience of engaging and working with people and groups in the community, particularly disadvantaged groups



Experience of organising creative and successful events which engage and involve people from a range of different backgrounds.



Excellent knowledge of, and connection to, Southcote



Skills and Abilities



Hard-working, reliable and professional, able to manage a varied and challenging workload and work well both as part of a team and alone.



Willing and able to work in different environments, including being office based and spending a large amount of time on the ground within communities.



Sound horticultural skills



Good planning, time management and organisational skills



Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with ability to inspire and motivate and others



Ability to develop and nurture effective relationships and participation across a range of cultures



An ability to work independently to agreed outcomes



Experience of using social media and other platforms to promote events



Personal Qualities



Able to work flexibly, adapting to the needs of the job, including evening and weekend working






Legal Requirements



To be entitled to work in the UK for the duration of the project’s funded period



To be subject to a satisfactory CRB check and declare any unspent convictions




Experience, skills, knowledge, abilities and understanding relevant to the post may have been gained in either paid or unpaid work or through other activities and interests.


Applicants should complete an application form and return to Sharon Fitton at RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS or email by Monday 19th April at 10am. Interviews will be on Tuesday 27th April. Position to start by the middle of May.


It is important that you address each of the points in the Person Specification since we will use this to shortlist applicants for interview.