Oct 25 2011 Wirral Council
The hard work and enthusiasm of a dozen local young people has helped lay the foundations of a brand new community garden in a disused piece of land next to Birkenhead Park.
The 12 youngsters, all part of Wirral Metropolitan College’s Prince’s Trust programme, worked for three weeks on the project to transform the former playing field, which is close to the edge of the park, into the Edward Kemp Community Garden.
In that short space of time they have managed to develop a seven square-metre patio area, eight new community growing plots and a raised planting area with wheelchair access, they have installed a small shed and planted some decorative, but also protective, shrubbery.
Their productive work came to an end on 14th October when the team, those supervising them and Wirral Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Cllr. Chris Meaden took part in a handover ceremony.
The Edward Kemp Community Garden, named after Birkenhead Park’s first-ever Superintendent, is a project initiated by Park Roots, a community interest company set-up by the Friends of Birkenhead Park. They have taken out a long-term lease on the land from Wirral Council.
The aim of establishing the garden is to enable a diverse range of community groups to learn about, grow, and sell affordable local produce. The disused land is being divided into two sections for use by local groups and volunteers and the raised beds are being created to provide opportunities for people with disabilities.
Thanks to the involvement of Wirral Met’s Prince’s Trust ‘Team 111’ the first phase of bringing this project to fruition has now been carried out.
Working with Birkenhead Park’s Community Projects Officer, Sally Dobbing and Andy McCulloch, a landscape and gardening tutor, the 12 young people involved, all aged between 16 and 25, learned the required horticultural, ecological and building and construction techniques to enable to make such good progress.
Sheila Blair, Director of Park Roots, said: “The team were outstanding during their short time on the Project. They really took a personal interest in what we are trying to achieve showed incredible dedication and commitment along with displaying a relentless work ethic from start to finish. I am amazed at how much work they managed to get through in just three weeks.”
Cllr. Chris Meaden added: “I have nothing but praise for this group of young people who have worked so hard to help get this project off the ground. It is fantastic to see the positive difference that a group of young people can make to their community.”
The partnership has proved so successful that further links between the Edward Kemp Community Garden and the other young people taking part in the Prince’s Trust programme through Wirral Met are planned for next year and beyond to build on the strong foundations laid by the first group.