Community Garden news

We’re half way through our Zoom community engagement sessions with Alison Findlay and Claire Davitt from the RHS, to help design our garden. Delivering this content by Zoom is new to the RHS, but we’ve been really impressed with the delivery and so very, very grateful for their help!

We know Zoom isn’t for everyone, or the timings don’t suit, so do get in touch if you’d like to be more involved with the design process offline. We’d really love your input.

More details on what we’ve been covering in the Zoom sessions and how to get involved can be found here . Do watch the videos for inspiration, contribute to the polls and work up a design for us! Keep an eye out here, on social media and in the next newsletter to find out more of our progress on the garden. We’ll be turning it into reality in the very near future. Exciting!

Featured

Community hub planning application set for March

Artist’s impression of proposed community hub. Image credit: St Albans District Council

We are pleased to let you know that we are a step closer in getting our hoped-for community hub at the Marlborough Pavilion site in Sopwell.

A planning application for the project is due to be submitted by St Albans District Council next month, with the proposed building including “a main hall of 100 square metres, a café, a kitchen suitable for providing event catering and Changing Places toilets. There will also be wudu wash facilities for members of the Muslim community to carry out ablutions before prayer and a multi-faith quiet room for anyone to use for personal reflection or prayer.” These are alongside a cycle hub and outside improvements to the local BMX track.

Read the whole press release on the Council website here and the associated Herts Advertiser piece here.

#ShowTheLove Half Term Activity for Children

Grow Community – Sopwell supported The Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove campaign by providing a fun activity for children over the half-term; encouraging a more plant-based diet and learning food growing skills.

Thank you to everyone who came and collected their free pea seeds and an information pack from our seed and seedling stall at 71 Leyland Avenue, and the Green Heart poster to display in your window.

More info on carbon emissions from common foods: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualising-the-greenhouse-gas-impact-of-each-food/

Featured

The Big Reveal: Your new Community Garden site!

After a recent council engagement exercise in relation to the site of the new community garden in Sopwell, we are pleased to announce that the community garden will be created next to the Berners Drive play area.

Over the coming months, work to install the garden will take place. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the area!

The Engagement Response

The Berners Drive site was selected by the majority of respondents (42%).

The majority of local residents who responded to the engagement were in favour of a community garden in the area, citing community wellbeing and increased food-growing skills:

“Good to build local community food growing capability and knowledge and bring the community together.”

“Exactly the sort of project we should be encouraging with positive environmental and community aspects.”

The Berners Drive site was favoured due to it being a relatively safe place away from main roads, being central in the ward, and being an area that many residents pass by.

You can read the full report of the engagement exercise on our website here:

The Community Garden

The garden will grow edible and wildlife-friendly plants without pesticides or artificial fertilisers.

Phase I: Initially, the site will consist of two raised beds for growing fruit and vegetables. These will be bordered by a variety of edible, wildlife-friendly and attractive low-maintenance plants (outlined in green on the site plan).

Sustainability infrastructure (for compost/water) and a bench will be added later.

This will be gradually expanded over time to a size of approximately 250 square metres (outlined in red on the site plan).

Sopwell residents will be invited to help care for the plants, and to pick them for eating when they are ready. Monthly maintenance and teaching sessions will take place at the garden in accordance with current coronavirus guidelines. Additionally, where Lockdown rules allow, occasional small community events may take place there.

Residents will be encouraged to walk or cycle to the garden so as not to cause traffic and parking issues.

We are committed to working with all local residents to ensure that the garden enhances both the area and our community’s wellbeing. Two similar projects in the city centre are very popular with local residents.

Find Out More

Thank you if you have shown interest in the garden so far. If you would like to get involved, would like more information, or if you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please email us on GrowSopwell@gmail.com and we will get back to you. You may also contact Peggy Sharp, SADC Community Engagement Officer, Equalities and Grants Community Services (Preferably by email:  Peggy.Sharp@stalbans.gov.uk or telephone: 01727 819340). We really hope that you can support and enjoy the community garden and we look forward to meeting you at the site in the future. You can find out more about our group and projects on our website and social media channels