Better Together Community Support Group for Stoke-on-Trent and NuL have taken over the garden at St Werburgh’s School in Clayton.
The Seabridge Lane site is home to a wildlife garden and a plot for growing vegetables. Better Together have ambitious plans to develop it as a community garden and as a site for hosting some of their regular groups.
Mrs Wilson, headteacher at St Werburgh’s described the work done to bring the garden back into use as “absolutely fantastic” and that it would be “something everyone will now be able to enjoy”.
Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and a patron of Better Together said that a community garden was a “fantastic idea”, adding that gardening is an activity that shows “countless benefits to both physical and mental health, with the added benefit of providing you with fresh produce to put on your plate”.
The garden will be part of their A-Maize-Ing-Grow project, which encourages people to take part in activities where they can learn about and engage with nature in ways that benefit their wellbeing .
Better Together CEO Birgit Alport said the aim was to “bring the community together” and “help people to cook from scratch and save money. Adding that “we also want to educate people about sustainability and not wasting food”.
Many of the plants and materials used in the garden have been donated by local businesses including Morrison’s supermarket.
Gemma Morris, a Community Champion based at the Morrison’s store in Newcastle said, “as a community retailer we are happy to support this project and the work Better Together do to stop food going to waste”. It was, she said, also “important for kids to learn that food comes from somewhere other than a shop”.
Using nature to help people cope with the stresses of everyday is an important part of the A-Maize-Ing-Grow project, particularly now when, Birgit said, it can be a “struggle to make ends meet”.
Dan, one of the Better Together volunteers who has worked on the garden said he felt it will be a “wonderful place” that will help people to feel calm.
Once the garden is open, he will be part of the team that will maintain it, something he said he was happy to do because “Birgit and her team were there for me when I was in a bad place”, now he wants to “give something back”.
Drue, another Better Together volunteer said, “you really appreciate places like this, they help you to get out of the house”, adding that she finds working in the garden “relaxing” and it is an opportunity to “meet nice people and enjoy the outdoors”
The garden will be formally opened by Stoke Central MP Jo Gideon on Saturday 25th June, the launch event will take place between 12:30 and 16:00.