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Work begins on community garden


WORK will start this weekend on a new community-led project to create a public garden behind Hamilton Library.

Local horticultural volunteers the New Shoots Gardening Club are leading the 21-week project which will transform the space behind the library into a green haven with new paths and seating, raised planters, storage areas, a mini allotment area and a community orchard.

The main funding for the project has come from the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, along with the Leicester Near Neighbours Fund, which is designed to bring together diverse communities on projects which benefit everyone.

The New Shoots Gardening Club has already been involved in a series of local environmental improvements, as part of the Royal Horticultural Society's It's Your Neighbourhood scheme, which encourages volunteers to help spruce up communities.

The completed scheme will be used as a base for the New Shoots Gardening Club to work with community volunteers and library visitors, to encourage involvement in horticulture and demonstrate the skills needed to grow crops and tend to the site.

Work begins on Friday, November 30, with the first cut of turf taking place at 10.30am. Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for heritage, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, will kick off the work.

He said: "It is great to see this area of land behind the library transformed in a project which will bring local people from all walks of life together.

"The New Shoots Gardening Club has already made a real difference with the work it has carried out in the It's Your Neighbourhood Scheme, and this project looks set to continue that good work."

It's Your Neighbourhood Leicester co-ordinator Penny Brown added, "The group has entered It's Your Neighbourhood for four years, and it is a pleasure to see them gain in strength and confidence.

"Their dedication to the community and horticulture is inspirational. This launch will hopefully encourage more volunteers to engage in the project, raise its profile and wave the community flag for Leicester."

The project has received over £11,000 in funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the Leicester Near Neighbours fund, which is designed to support projects which promote involvement from diverse communities.

The project has also received donations and support from a range of local firms and organisations, including Bentley's Garden Buildings, Wilkinson, McDonalds and Tesco Hamilton, with support from Leicester City Council's parks and green spaces and Hamilton Library.

Other organisations involved include the Hamilton Residents' Association, local residents, the Probation Service's Community Payback scheme, the Royal Horticultural Society and East Midlands in Bloom.

Leicester Near Neighbours Fund organiser, John McCallum, said, "Near Neighbours is very excited about New Shoots, which enables people of all backgrounds to meet for the first time and go on to achieve something that promotes health and a worthwhile activity for so many people."

Graham and Clare Cole, New Shoots Gardening Club project co-ordinators Graham and Clare Cole, added: "Apart from continual development by builders, this is the first project in Hamilton which is for the community and led by the community."


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