Founded in 2011, we are a social enterprise based in Bootle, Merseyside that wants to invest in the community and the people in it.
We run a Community Garden in North Park in Bootle, working with volunteers to grow fruit and vegetables. Most of the produce is taken home by our volunteers and the rest is used to make quality homemade chutneys, pickles and jams which we sell locally.
As an organisation we follow a Christian ethos and believe that God loves everyone and it is our responsibility to show it. We welcome all people regardless of background or circumstance, because everyone has the potential to be remarkable.
The Gateway Collective is Ali and Janet. We began as acquaintances with a shared vision, became business partners and turned into friends. We are supported by our amazing and very patient husbands, JohnMark and Peter and fabulous Trustee Ally. They too are invested in the vision.
We began as a result of a conversation between the 2 of us chatting at church about what we believed God had called us to do. We both wanted to work with people, to help them develop skills, improve their opportunities for employment and take control of their lives. For Ali it was making jams and chutneys, for Janet it was making anything; cards, bags, soap, candles. So in November 2011 we started to collaborate and began selling at local markets in all types of weather. However this didn’t afford us much of an opportunity to engage with people beyond a conversation with them as they bought our products.
With a background in Horticulture, Janet began growing some of the vegetable we used in the chutneys, in her own and Ali’s back garden.
Then 2015 saw the opportunity to develop the growing side of the chutneys and jams as we, in conjunction with a Bootle based charity, Ykids, were offered the use of a small patch of land in North Park. This we knew was the part of our vision that was missing: the opportunity to engage with the community on a regular basis, to develop friendships, to support volunteers as well as grow food.
The Community Garden began with 10 raised beds, but has since expanded into the adjoining 5 a-side football pitch, so increasing the number of growing beds we have. The amount and range of what we grow has also expanded beyond what is used in the jams and chutneys, to include food volunteers want to take home and cook.
From this The Gateway Collective has become involved with other organisations that promote the well being of the people of Bootle through growing. Ali is part of Taking Root in Bootle which connects the growing number of community gardens, so that collectively we can work to improve the local environment of Bootle. 2019 saw us, through Taking Root in Bootle, become involved in entries for the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park and the North West In Bloom.