In January 2015, an idea which had been circulating a while started becoming a reality: the overgrown weed patch behind Acomb Methodist Church had been forgotten and neglected for years, but could we make it a place where people could meet with each other, make friends and engage with the natural world too? The church's own research with City of York Council and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation had demonstrated that there is a real feeling of isolation and loneliness among people living in Acomb (half the responses, both young and old). So can we be part of changing that?
I've been part of the team which has just started getting this project off the ground, writing updates on the blog every 4 to 6 weeks and sharing widely to get the news out about this exciting new project.
Next on our agenda is a garden party on 9th August, 3-6pm: we're looking forward to a chance to show off the garden to a wider audience! Join us for an afternoon of fun, fruity mocktails, freshly picked produce (our first harvest!!!) and inspiring stories from friends around York who are engaged in similar work to help our city become a growing, sustainable place.
A Journey of Transformation
Setting the scene for the garden project and what we hope to achieve.
February 2015: The Transformation Begins
A report from our first work day with 20 local people (including half a dozen kids) clearing the weeds and making space.
March 2015: Day of the Digger
We were really grateful for the donation from a local firm which provided us with a small JCB, driver and chainsaw specialist for the day at cost price, which allowed us to make significant progress on levelling the garden and clearing dead trees and overgrown branches, What would have taken months of people with spades was done in a day!
April 2015: Springing into Action
The garden starts to take shape, with paths marked out, the rest of the hedge laid and vegetables starting to go in!
May 2015: Inspiration from Helmsley
We had a grand day out to Helmsley with around 30 people from Acomb for a picnic and some inspiration from Helmsley's Walled Garden - we were much encouraged by the transformation of their enormous space from weed patch to beautiful productivity.
June 2015: Pitching for Funds at York Soup
York Soup was the garden project's first public outing, and it was great to share it with a room full of people (and I got loads of ideas on post it notes to take away!) We made a pitch for a grant of £1000 to help us install disabled access to the garden. While we didn't get the grant (congrats to The Island, a fantastic local mentoring project who won it instead!), we had a great time and we're looking forward to meeting some of those who attended again at our garden party in August!