Thanks to the wonderful efforts of local volunteers “Goodgym”, we have completed the clearing of the church cellar and we are now storing the large variety of tools required for our Gardening as Therapy initiative. Read their report here.
On a rainy day in December, our wonderful friends from “Goodgym” visited us for the second time. On this occasion they cut back bushes, cleared leaves, gave the grounds a general tidy (and took lots of photos!), to help our ForgetMeNot Cafe and to get the Gardening as Therapy initiative up and running. Read their report here.
When we complete the development project, we will have external storage readily available for tools and equipment for gardening. In the mean time, with the help of a grant of £1000 from Age Cymru, and the “muscle” of local volunteers “Good Gym”, we have cleared the church cellar which used to house the heating system, but is now redundant, to enable us to store the large variety of tools required (some with long handles, others with special grips etc). While it is not as good as ground-level storage, this has enabled us to bring the work forward by at least a year. We plan to run a separate “gardening club” for anyone in the community who can benefit from this activity, but sadly much of this activity has been curtailed by the restrictions of the coronavirus.
Using the new tools and equipment, our gardeners get to work.
Our latest acquisition, a battery powered mower (no more trailing cables!) has made an enormous difference. For the present, particularly during the coronavirus, it is being stored in the vestry (at ground level - much more convenient for all our gardeners!). More visits from Goodgym Runners have also helped us to keep things going during the crisis.
This project has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus crisis, but we have tried hard to derive some benefits from a difficult time.
The Forget Me Not Cafe that normally meets weekly, and was expected to form the core of the gardening project, has had to suspend meetings because almost all of them are in the high vulnerability category. We have managed to keep in touch by hundreds of telephone calls, and weekly Zoom meetings, in which our people have made a valiant (and remarkably successful) effort to come to grips with new technology!
Our “wild” area at the back of the church has been largely untended over the last six months, but the rotting wood piles and habitats for wild things are doing well. We decided to plant the wild flowers in our own gardens and share photographs on the web. This has been remarkably successful, attracting lots of bees, and bringing a sense of involvement to those who have been unable to leave their homes.
In the church grounds, we have taken the opportunity to develop access, particularly for those in wheelchairs: photos. There is now a substantial path giving firm access to the wild area at the rear of the church for everyone. It also provides a safe exit route from the community hall in these days of one-way systems, which also raises awareness of the work we are doing. Local children are also interested in the wild area and have created habitats for hedgehogs and planted wild flowers there.
At the side of the hall we now have three raised beds (giving universal access) which are tended by those who are still able to come out of their homes. The beds currently contain mostly cultivated flowers, which have been donated by local people, and planted up in the form of a rainbow to express gratitude to the NHS during the crisis. They are colourful and attract people, as well as butterflies and bees, into the grounds, which bodes well for future involvement in the projects, as well as helping the environment. This development was supported financially by our County Council who are also supportive of our work.
We feel that it is not constructive to speculate how long the restrictions are likely to last. As things develop, we will do our best to achieve our objectives of maintaining places of tranquillity, providing natural habitats where possible and encouraging involvement of all members of our community wherever feasible.
Work proceeding in the grounds: photos.