Community heroes going green for garden restoration

A Wirral project has received funding to transform overgrown church grounds into an eco-garden – with the help of enthusiastic schoolchildren and green-fingered volunteers.

St Mary’s Church in Liscard has been given £8,000 from the 2022/23 Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund to transform the space which will now host fruit & vegetable growing, wildflower planting, composting, and a kids’ gardening club.

The Church, on Manor Lane, is working with Liscard Primary School, Wirral Environmental Network and Faiths4Change to deliver the project. 

Project coordinator, Ruth Williams, said: “The church is in a deprived area where green spaces are a precious commodity and few people have a garden, and we felt it was a much-needed resource for the community to be able to use.

“Our volunteers – who range from young children to our over-55s gardening group – have helped to develop the one-acre site, two-thirds of which was overgrown with brambles and nettles and totally unusable.

“Last month a fabulous group of volunteers helped us to clear the last mountain of brambles behind the church. The transformation is unbelievable!”

As well as providing the green space and activities, organisers are also aiming to recycle or reuse over three tonnes of materials, including old wooden pallets for making vegetable planters and benches, reclaimed bricks and sandstone for ground edging, and using climbing ropes for bordering the wildflower area. In all, the project is looking to involve almost 600 local people and will deliver:

  • Weekly community gardening club sessions to develop the Eco Garden 
  • Regular training sessions to improve skills in gardening, cooking and upcycling
  • Children’s gardening club sessions in school holidays and half-term
  • A weekly after-school club for local families with recycled craft activities, planting and watering
  • Regular environmental and planting activity sessions for the Eco Rangers and classes from Liscard Primary School
  • Wellbeing and gardening sessions for local Life Skills courses
  • Regular sales of pre-loved toys and clothes

Ruth Williams continued, “At St Mary’s we are using the funding to create positive experiences of community and belonging, and we want to do it sustainably and organically. We are demonstrating and encouraging the love of nature and the joy of growing real food from scratch, and not just buying it in a tin or a packet, which we’ve found to be life-changing for many people who attend.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said, “We’re astonished at the effort and enthusiasm everyone involved has put into this project. It’s providing a community green space and outdoor activities, as well as recycling and reusing materials that might have otherwise gone to waste.

“They are giving up their own time to make a real difference to the community they live in. I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in this brilliant project.”

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