Thursday, 23 August 2012

Creating a Community Garden 3

In a couple of previous posts (links below) I outlined how to go about turning an area of wasteland into a Community Garden. In particular, our project involves taking an abandoned play area in Dinas Powys (between Nightingale Place and Sir Ivor Place) and turning it into the Dinas Powys Community Growing Area.

The project was initiated and is being steered by Elizabeth Millard, Chair of the Dinas Powys Residents’ Group, and Councillor Keith Hatton (Plaid Cymru). Rob McGhee of Creative Rural Communities (Vale of Glamorgan Council) is project-managing:  that’s him on the left in this picture of the trio photographed on the site this week.

I previously reviewed the type of grants available in the Vale of Glamorgan for this type of project (they may be similar in other parts of the UK). A couple of weeks ago the project was awarded £28,000 by Tidy Towns Wales, a Welsh Assembly government initiative that funds community projects aiming to improve the quality of the environment.

Earlier this week, Emma Hancock met Rob, Elizabeth, Keith and I on the site. Emma is a Landscape Architect working within the Planning and Transportation Department of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Among her tasks will be to look at Utility Plans (e.g., to decide on the best route to bring water pipes to the site) and to oversee the work of contractors.

A contractor - Gerald Davies - has been chosen from among those who put in estimates/bids for the work. The company has experience of similar work around the Vale.  Work can start after the bird nesting season, and the contractors are expected to be on the site by the end of October. Firstly, part of a wall will be taken down to allow vehicle access from Sir Ivor Place (the wall will be rebuilt afterwards). The rubber and concrete surfaces will then be broken up and removed, topsoil will be put down, and a security fence erected around the site.

Before the contractors start work, however, there will be an initial clearance day to cut back overgrown hedges etc. This will be held on Saturday 20 October, starting at nearby Youldon House around 10.30 am. Everyone is welcome (bring tools!); it will be an opportunity for those interesting in having a plot on the community garden to meet and find out more. Creative Rural Communities will be there with plans of the garden, which will include communal areas and individual plots. It will also be the first step in forming a Management Committee for the long-term maintenance of the community garden.

The Dinas Powys Community Garden has the backing of Community Foodie, a project under the umbrella of Creative Rural Communities and the Vale of Glamorgan Council, to identify, develop and support community food growing. Their aim is to strengthen communities by increasing the amount of food produce grown and consumed locally, to develop skills (e.g., local schools will be invited to participate in the project), to promote healthy lifestyles, and to bring people together. With a bit of luck, the Dinas Powys Community Growing Area will achieve all these things.

I will post again shortly, with a more detailed look at the plans for the site.

Previous Dinas Powys Community Garden posts:

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