Green’s Windmill Trust is a Queen’s Award winning charity located in Nottingham which operates Green’s Windmill, a fully restored 19th Century tower mill formerly owned by self-taught scientific genius George Green, Nottingham's 'mathematical miller'. We further the educational and public activities of the science centre, promote Green’s scientific reputation and help preserve the UK’s milling heritage. Entry to the site is free, providing an exceptional educational and heritage resource to the local community and schools. Approximately 25,000 people visit each year.
Linked to the mill is a vibrant community garden, which is an inspiring and dynamic outdoor asset. It provides a vital relaxing and tranquil green space with an emphasis on education and recreation. We grow plants and produce throughout the year, which are made available to the community on a ‘give-what-you-can’ basis. We’ve recently installed a bug hotel, redeveloped the pond area and added various feeding stations to encourage biodiversity.
Our garden is open five days a week, and as entry is free there’s no price barrier to visit. This provides an excellent opportunity to connect visitors to and educate in nature. We encourage schools groups to explore the garden so they can see how fruit, veg and cereals ground in the windmill are grown and harvested. The space is largely looked after by volunteers, some of whom require extra guidance due to physical or learning difficulties, mental health problems or are long term unemployed. Volunteers, especially those who are local with no garden, participate because they can call our green space their own, and all have the opportunity to make new friends, gain new experiences, develop their skills and share expertise, all in an inspiring setting.
While our community garden project is going well it is clear there is much more to be done. To continue our positive work we have applied to the Save our Wild Isles fund as we would like to;
1. construct more raised beds (2 at wheelchair height) and redevelop underused areas to improve growing capacity,
2. add plants to improve biodiversity to attract a greater variety of insects and wildlife, choosing plants that flower/fruit all year round,
3. improve access by laying paths and a patio,
4. provide a wider range of equipment to our volunteers (secateurs, hand trowels, gloves etc),
5. allocate a staff member to provide better training, support and skills development to our volunteers.
By improving accessibility we can widen participation, enabling us to engage volunteers with a wider range of abilities to help maintain the space. More volunteers and more growing beds will increase the amount of seasonable produce grown for the community. Raised beds also provide a more efficient cultivation method. By installing better provisions for visitors more people will get the benefit of a safe green space in an urban environment so our resource can be used to its fullest. It will enhance the community events (eg Spring Fayre, Carols) when the garden can be used for workshops and live music, or private events.
We attract visitors of all ages and abilities and hope these improvements will help to increase the proportion of those who visit the garden. The learning of practical skills will see the garden flourish through continuing the good work and positive momentum already achieved, hereby securing the garden's long-term future and ensuring it fulfils its promise for the benefit of the local and wider community.