The Garden provides a space for local people to come together, escape the stresses of daily life, help to enhance the local environment and increase biodiversity. It’s a community project set up in partnership with the Church.
Jo Edwards, who is a Church Buildings Officer for the Diocese, had been looking at various spaces with her husband to try and set up a community green space or orchard:
“We approached a couple of site owners locally, but hadn’t heard back. It was during lockdown when speaking to the team at St Chad’s Church that it became apparent the costs for keeping the grounds tidy there was costing hundreds of pounds every few weeks.
“This was also at a time when the church was getting little income because of the pandemic, so we approached them and asked if the PCC would consider having it as a community garden. It’s a flat green space that had a church hall and tennis court on it at one stage.
“It’s not a churchyard so it comes under a different designation for what we can do with the land. The building that was bequeathed with it is owned by St Chad’s and is used by the community, including a nursery in the day and guides/clubs/scouts in the evenings. We felt it was a massively underused potential asset, and thankfully the church PCC said yes to the plans.
“We put flyers out to the residents and advertised when we would be in the garden, so that’s how it got off the ground in the local community.”
Since opening the garden has gone from strength to strength, with 7 of the regular garden members forming a committee to help run the project, and work towards it becoming a charity in its own right. Several different local groups and businesses have linked up with the project, which has been a massive boost for the garden.
There’s also been an encouraging number of young people taking part and helping with building benches and bird tables, creating a willow dome, and enjoying the mud and outside space!
Jo thinks the reaction bodes well for the future:
“It’s been really positive. It’s currently open every other weekend, but we’re looking to expand that to every weekend from 2023. Most of the events attract lots of people, and links in with other active local groups. The kids who come along feel safe because it’s an enclosed space that their parents can see over the fence.
“The uptake has been good, and it’s heartening to see so many people involved.”
The anniversary will take place on Saturday 29th October, with garden work starting from 10am followed by a social event from 4pm for people to come and chat together.