Reading International Solidarity Centre

The Weller Centre Garden Engagement Worker

The deadline for this position has been extended until 22nd June 2020

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. 


See further information  


Food4Families Project is managed by RISC.

The Food4Families project was initially fundedthrough 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. more information


The Weller Centre

The Weller Centre is based on the Amersham Road estate in Lower Caversham. There is a small area of land to one side, which had become overgrown and rarely used. Since March 2011, Food4families has been working with various community groups, local families and young children, to create a community food growing space with raised beds, fruit trees and soft fruit. 



Job Description


Job Title:Garden Engagement Worker


Responsible to: Food4Families Co-ordinator


Responsible for: Volunteers on site


Pay: £20 per hour  Hours of work:6 hrs/wk July-Nov 2020 


Place of work: The Weller Centre Community Garden and Amersham Road Estate



Whilst the garden has a small group 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 the garden. 
  • Run regular mid week sessions for families, and at the weekend
  • Build strong relationships with existing users and develop a good understanding of what local people want from the space. 
  • 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 wide variety of methods to promote the garden and the centre 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 centre user group meetings as well as linking up with other local networking groups when appropriate




  • 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 staff & volunteers at the Weller Centre and other organisations 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, 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, Amersham Road Estate



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 4PSor email by 6th April. Interviews will be on date tbc


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