As part of our mission to transform communities we have been working with Sow the City to change unloved and unattractive areas into thriving community spaces in which green-fingered residents can practice their gardening skills. The previously empty plots have been enthusiastically revitalised by Sow the City, who have encouraged local residents to get their hands dirty and dig deep by helping to clear weeds and other pieces of rubbish from the land.
The project was originally awarded seed money after pitching at one of our Community Soup events, and they’ve certainly not let the grass grow under their feet, as community gardening projects have now taken root in Moss Side, Hulme, and Clayton.
Kieron McGlasson, one of the head gardeners involved with Sow the City, explained what he considered to be the reasons behind the success of the community gardens:
“People love to get involved with gardening projects, but there’s often a massive wait to get an allotment, so for a lot of people it’s not really an option. With a community garden there can be many members to it, so rather than a single person the whole community comes together to grow on that site.
“It works in a really beneficial way because as well as sharing the work, everybody shares the produce. It’s a really nice way for people to come together and it has loads of social benefits. We hear about Manchester being an inherently grey place, with lots of high-rise buildings and so if we can find some neglected land and turn that into a productive green space, then it brings the area up and helps it to look great.”
Marcella Williams lives next to the garden on Grierson Street, Moss Side, and expressed her delight at how the space has been transformed:
“I’ve lived on this street for forty years, before the garden was here it was like a dump. People would come and dump anything and everything, we’d get rats and all sorts. When the garden came I was so pleased, now it’s full of plants and herbs and it’s looking wonderful.
“We want the community around here to come together, and work together. I believe that this garden will help to improve the area, it will bring us together and unite us as one”.
The latest community garden to be added to the collection will soon open on Walsden Street in Clayton. The patch of overgrown land on the street had been a thorn in the side of local residents, and is scheduled to be developed into an attractive communal space with an area for children play.
If you’d like to find out more about community gardening projects near you, please get in contact with our Customer Involvement team on 0161 230 1076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.