The idea of having a local community garden was discussed informally at the end of 2007 & once it was established that there was a sufficient demand in the community to support the idea, a piece of suitable land was identified.
In January 2008 the group (led by Andy Ford) approached the Parish Council formally with a proposition to grow organic produce, subject to renting the area at the rear of the Play Park in Norton Lane. The desire by local residents to do this was partially driven by there being no local shop in the Village to supply fresh fruit or vegetables.
With the Village Council granting an ‘in principle’ agreement, the Whitchurch Village Community Garden (WVCG) committee was then properly formed, with Andy Ford elected as Chairman. The priority was to transform the redundant, overgrown land into an area suitable for growing fresh fruit and vegetables – no mean feat!!!!!
A great deal of activity was seen from 2008 through to 2010 which saw:-
- Core values established
- Funding granted from BANES (through Peter Edwards), the Village Fete Committee & Bristol Water, for which the WVCG are extremely grateful.
- These funds were used for hedge laying, the purchase of a communal storage container, purchase of a rain water collection tank and professional assistance in clearing the ground.
- By 2010, the ground was ready for use, including erection of a boundary fence between the play park & allotments and the marking out of 21 plots, all of which were rented out.
- By the end of 2010, the first crops were sown & grown in accordance with organic growing principles, plot holders celebrated first growing successes & monthly committee meetings were established
- The first main project of the group was discussed & commenced – this being re–establishment of the wild life pond which after a lot of hard work & thought was completed in the Autumn.
- From 2010, money has been raised through fundraising events (with the emphasis on fun) and the development of the site has continued through various ‘working party’ days with a number of volunteers giving their time and expertise for the benefit of all.
- In 2013, we started a very ambitious project to lay stone chippings & wood edgings to make the pathways safer & easier to walk on. This was completed in 2014.
Up to date position
- Although we have had a quite a turnover of plot holders, with many of the original team leaving for various reasons, the Village Council have quickly re-rented available plots, & have maintained a 100% occupation.
- A willing force of volunteers have supported working parties throughout, and much time has been given to various projects to maintain the site in good order.
- The plots have looked very good in 2016, and produce has been acceptable to most plot holders.
- Regular meetings, working parties & social evenings to raise funds have been held, and where appropriate the Village Council have been very supportive with funding to help us.
Acknowledgement of support provided
The Whitchurch Village Community Gardens Committee would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all sources, both historic & current, for the help & support (be it financial, moral or physical) without which we could not have established & maintained the Gardens.
- Whitchurch Village Council & the Clerk Mrs Sue Dyer
- Mr Peter Edwards – Councillor
- Whitchurch Village Fete Committee.
- Virgin Media trainees in the Community (via Chris Starling)
- Whitegate Nurseries (David Morris)
- Whitchurch British Legion
- B&Q (Imperial Park)
- Whitchurch Cricket Club
- Hinton Organics
- Bristol Water
- Aaron Carpets
- Geoff Wilkinson, Church Farm
- All the plot holders, past & present, who have given up their time to help maintain the site in good order.
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