We did it
On 15th July 2020 we successfully raised £1,540 with 56 supporters in 41 days

We want to create a community garden which can be used by everyone to grow food, learn new skills, be a place to meet and a tranquil retreat

by West Heath Community Centre in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

WOO HOO! With extra funds we will be able to build some seating into the gardening areas so that there will be somewhere to relax and socialise after all the hard work! With more funding we'll be able to install a shed too. 

Please keep giving!


West Heath Community Garden

In a built-up area of south Birmingham, the grounds of our Community Centre have the potential to be a wonderful haven for growing fruit, vegetables and plants, and for educating and bringing the community together. A place to meet others, make friends, learn new skills, to escape and enjoy nature, to improve the local environment and feel part of something within the community.

 

What we want to do

Phase 1 is to get the Community Garden started! We need to clear an unused and very overgrown area, construct some simple raised beds for growing a variety of produce, create accessible pathways, install a water butt system and purchase some tools. 

It looks pretty sad at the moment!

But it could be a fantastic area with raised beds and eventually a seating area too!

We will also clear a sloping bank of grass at the rear of the centre and create a ‘Nectar Bar’; a colourful area filled with nectar rich flowers to encourage pollinating insects as well as looking lovely and providing a quiet, tranquil space.

 The bank is a nightmare to mow and an area of nothingness.

We want to transform it into something like this... 

Please use your imagination!

Why now?

The Covid 19 lockdown has really raised the issue of how important outside space, and particularly gardening, can be in helping to maintain and improve physical and mental wellbeing. For those who haven’t been able to get outside into a garden, the recent months have been especially tough. As lockdown measures are lifted, a community garden will be somewhere for local folk to make contact again, build new friendships and give fresh focus and hope.

 

The importance of the project

In a recent survey, local people spanning ages from 25 years to 75+, expressed great enthusiasm for the project. West Heath Community Garden will be open for everyone in our locality and provide a much-needed outdoor space to focus on. Over 77% of those surveyed thought that a community garden would improve the local environment.

Comments included…

“I think this would be a great opportunity to get the community together of all ages. We could all learn so much and we can give opportunities for people without a garden to enjoy a shared one”

“I think it's a great idea for those who don't have a garden”

“I think it’s a good idea and would help bring the community together.”

“I think a community garden is a wonderful idea, which could lead to all sorts of benefits to the local community, including health and environmental improvements.”

“Even if you can't or not interested in gardening you can appreciate its development...draw or paint it, have still life /drawing classes outside.”

“I love the idea of a community garden at the community centre- a great way for local people, especially those in flats to have a go at growing food which can then be used in the community centre”

“I think it would be a great asset to the community if a garden was created”

 

Whether individuals have no gardening knowledge, or a wealth of experience to share, we hope that this space will become a cherished place to be part of. A place where youngsters can learn about where their food comes from, study wildlife and learn some nurturing skills, where adults can come together to learn and share gardening knowledge, where friendships as well as flowers may bloom.

 

This project looks quite simple, doesn’t it? Well yes, we are starting small but we hope that this will just be the first phase of a much bigger project which will evolve as local people use the space and identify what else is needed. All future plans must be a reaction to the needs and desires of the people who will use and tend the space, not what someone thinks they should have.

 

Who are we and why should you support us? 

West Heath Community Association was formed over 80 years ago, and is still going strong. We are a self-funded charity and our home is Hampstead House, an old house which has been added to and extended in many ways. During ‘normal times’ we have over 1000 people through the doors each week to participate in a wide variety of clubs and activities from Stay & Play for parents (or grandparents) their babies and pre-schoolers, through to a Day Centre which caters for older people who may otherwise be socially isolated. Many groups and clubs encourage physical activity, some focus on social engagement, and some on creativity. We also host a number of fund-raising and social events throughout the year to keep our centre running.

We have a great track record of providing space and activities for the health and well-being of the community, so rest assured that any funds will be wisely spent. We have a committed Board of Directors (all volunteers) who ensure that the charity is governed correctly, a Community Garden Steering Group (all local citizens) who will focus on the development of the plans, and a manager who is a passionate gardener and eager to drive the project forward. A Community Garden is the next chapter in our story.

 

How will the money be spent?

Although we will recycle and upcycle as much as possible, funds will be required to purchase the following:

  • Hard landscaping goods - to create substantial raised beds and pathways to allow easy access for all
  • Skip hire - whilst clearing the site
  • Water collection butts
  • Compost and seeds
  • Tools

 

And finally…

West Heath is in the top 10% of deprived areas in the country, so money is tight, but the hearts of the people and the community spirit is BIG! The folk here deserve somewhere to tend, a tranquil place to escape to, a chance to grow food from scratch and develop healthy eating habits, a place which looks wonderful, lifts your spirit and makes you feel like you ‘belong’.

In essence, a place for “growing together”.

 

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