The original village hub project started as an attempt to renovate the old cost-cutter building on the sea-front, then morphed into an ambitious scheme to put a new community-run facility on the old rifle club site at the entrance to the village. After a failed funding application for that facility, the group decided to set it’s sights on a more realistic, more grounded way to make use of that wonderful space: a community garden.
The community garden meets many of the needs of our community expressed in the research we did for the hub project, and echoed in the community action plan. Our community wants more ways to socialise with other people we might not bump into otherwise. Our community wants to do something constructive together, to make things, grow things, and learn together. If we get the funding for a poly tunnel, there will even be somewhere you can hide from the rain and the midges and get a cup of coffee.
As you’ll have seen, the site has been being carved up by the diggers working on the path project. But there is a plan! Tim has kindly volunteered and worked hard to get and respond to feedback from lots of people.
The general idea is to have something for everyone on the site: a wildlife nature garden towards the entrance, an orchard and woodland area, some lawns and picnic or barbecue space, then towards the back, an area of raised beds for growing fruit and vegetables. There’s even a stage for outdoor performances under the crags, which doubles as a climbing wall. The old curling rink will be left largely un-touched at this stage except for some more cleaning up, leaving our options open for the future.
We’re trying to keep the plans modest so that they affordable and achievable.
We have some trees already on their way, donated by the woodland trust, and some modest funds already donated by Tesco which will help cover the costs of the boring stuff like drainage on the site and repairs to the shed. We have funding applications in that will mean we’re able to buy the other plants on Tim’s design, tools and materials as well as the much-requested poly tunnel, if they come through.
The main thing we’re going to need is people! We had a good turn-out for the open evening we ran in the summer, and 12 people so far have signed up to say they’d like to be part of the gardening group. We’re currently thinking we’ll run the growing area like an allotment system, with people paying a small fee to rent a raised bed in the poly tunnel or in a deer-fenced outdoor area which will go towards the running costs of the garden. Of course we’ll also need volunteers to set up and maintain the other areas of the garden too, so please let us know if you’re interested in taking part.
I’d love to hear your feedback either way. It can be a lonely job running these kinds of projects, and every word of encouragement means a lot.