Community woodland garden opened at St John's Church, Cove
22 July 2012
SEA SCOUTS, church volunteers and a Rushmoor Borough Council grant all played a key role in transforming overgrown and unused glebe land into a community woodland garden at St John's Church, Cove.
After extensive clearance work the garden was declared open by Councillor Barbara Hurst, of St John’s Ward, in a ribbon cutting ceremony watched by a crowd of 100 local supporters.
It was a Rushmoor Council TAG community and environmental grant of £1,000 which first provided the opportunity for the community to reclaim the land, a project that had been in the making since April 2011. A further £400 was raised through individual donations.Sea Scouts and many church volunteers put in weeks of work to clear the undergrowth, install raised beds and picnic benches and oversee the installation of a new interpretation board. The churchyard has now been listed as a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation by Hampshire Wildlife Trust (HWT).
Vicar the Revd Esther Prior said: “We were delighted to receive the TAG award, and we hope the garden will be a breathing space for the community for years to come. “But we mustn’t forget that this project would not have been possible without the generosity of a whole host of volunteers.”
After a nature trail with a HWT specialist to celebrate the opening of the new community space, guests were treated to tea and cakes.
There are plans for the area to be used for picnics, incorportating nature tours, for family groups at the church. A local independent pre-school and two infant schools are also planning to take advantage of the grounds.
While the garden may be finished, St John’s is already looking towards its next project – a much needed update of the compact Victorian church building to provide a fit-for-purpose community facility including toilet and kitchen facilities.
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