Nine months after Abbs Cross Community Garden launched, Stafford Robbins, Chairman of the project, reflects on how their Community Spaces project has dramatically changed their local area.
It was always envisaged there would be a great deal of positive feedback for the Community Garden Project from residents. Most of them had sadly lived with the tarmac for many, many years and truly did not think the idea would ever become a reality. What has been particularly significant is the increase in numbers of people passing through the estate who are amazed and impressed at the change the garden has made to their daily walk to work, school or even just going shopping.
Our Community Group has a membership of around 280 residents, and throughout the long road from planning, obtaining funds and the eventual construction of their garden, the whole community has been drawn closer together with a realisation that great things are possible when just a small group of people with a big idea and lots of support work together. The residents now have the evidence of this significant achievement located right in the centre of their estate.
During the development of the project the members of our Group were asked to learn new skills and tackle a variety of unfamiliar tasks, such as garden design to suit all ages, and how to present a strong case with a viable project when seeking funds. High on the agenda was the formation of a ‘Garden Club’ to ensure not just the continued sustainability of the project but also the cultivation of communal areas of the estate that had been unused for many years. It is not difficult to see the wide-ranging benefits that the project has provided for all the residents.
With all the different aspects of the whole Community Garden it is difficult to highlight just one specific outstanding feature. However if pressed for a single item above all else, then it has to be the aesthetic value of the garden as a centrepiece to an estate that has truly ‘cleaned up its act’ during the three years it has taken to complete the project.
To read more about some of the completed Community Spaces projects, visit the case study section on our website at: www.community-spaces.org.uk/default.aspx?page=55