Allotment Soup Community Gardener Contract

Fixed Contract Fee: £4,000

Required: 44 days over 6 months (55 hours a month worked flexibly through the growing season from April to October.)

We are looking for an engaging individual with an enthusiasm for and knowledge of plants and growing, and an ability to share this passion with the Allotment Soup community.

Art Gene is an arts charity based in Barrow-in-Furness. We work with communities, developing projects around the social, natural and built environment.  We established ‘Allotment Soup – Isle of Walney community growing space’ in 2015/16 and it continues to develop. Our focus is threefold – to develop community, food and biodiversity.

On the off-grid site, there is: both community-managed and Art Gene-run growing plots; a large pond; hot composting; wormeries and a developing forest garden. We grow organic food, to serve free at events and to share with volunteers. With the help of volunteers, we have created a stock of tools and erected two industrial poly tunnels. These sheltered spaces are the venue for our engagement work with schools and other partnership work and are used for potting up, growing and tea drinking.

 Objectives & purpose of the contract:

  1. Work with the allotment volunteers, Art Gene staff and the wider community to support organic food production, sustainable growing practices and planting for biodiversity.
  2. Undertake seasonal garden maintenance work, including sewing, weeding, planting, pruning, watering and cropping.
  3. Develop and deliver occasional growing sessions on Allotment Soup with community groups and offer a warm welcome to visitors.
  4. Work with the Art Gene Arts Project and Communications Manager, our wider creative teams and the Artist Directors, as required, to help facilitate volunteer work parties or events on site.

Timings can be negotiated, although at least one Friday or Saturday afternoon a month is required.


  • Lead in ensuring a healthy, seasonally varied crop is produced in 2023.
  • Work collaboratively with the team to plan, publicise and deliver hands-on gardening activity and maintenance tasks, helping to direct volunteer labour as appropriate.
  • Support Art Gene staff responsible for grass cutting, tool maintenance and composting when required, ensuring the whole site is always well-maintained.
  • Communicate with and promote the Allotment Soup project to interested parties, as required, for example, by leading informal tours of the site.
  • Make recommendations for future growing and for development of the site.
  • Ensure the site is managed to high environmental standards, avoiding pesticides and promoting biodiversity.
  • Ensure Art Gene’s equal opportunity, diversity, and health and safety polices are adhered to and ensure the project is accessible and welcoming to under-served groups.
  • Provide data on the people who engage with the project for funders and management, as required.
  • Be responsive to the changing needs of the Allotment Soup project and take on any additional duties and tasks as required to deliver the contract.

Essential Skills and Qualifications

Demonstrable knowledge of edible plants and horticulture

Excellent interpersonal skills

Ability to teach volunteers by example the principles of good horticultural practice

Personal Qualities

Approachable and engaging

Self-motivated, with ability to work autonomously and manage own workload

Able to take a flexible approach to delivering success; adaptable and creative approach

Excited by the potential of a community growing space and of the role of community gardener; keen to communicate this enthusiasm to as wide an audience as possible


Experience of managing an allotment or large productive garden space

Experience of working with volunteers and community groups

Understanding of sustainability and the importance of gardening in a nature-friendly way.

Driving license. Art Gene can provide a bicycle for use on workdays if required.

Art Gene will undertake a DBS check.


Please send a c.v. and a letter expressing your interest and suitability to take on the contract to by noon on Friday, 24 March 2023. Please include the names of two referees, including phone numbers (not relatives).

© Art Gene
Tel: +44 (0)1229 825085

Art Gene

Bath Street,


Cumbria, LA14 5TY England, UK

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