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Growing more than just plants in new wellbeing garden

In 2019 St Andrew’s, Goldsworth Park Woking, applied to become an Eco Church. An award that see’s churches collecting points for caring for God’s earth.  

The church highlighted an area they needed to improve to work towards the award - making their outside spaces more wildlife friendly. But it wasn’t until 2022 when a congregation member put the church in touch with the community engagement team at RHS Wisley that the idea of a wellbeing garden was formed.

And now, in 2023, work has begun at St Andrew’s. “We decided earlier this year to try and make the smaller of our two garden areas into a dual purpose space, helping wildlife and increasing wellbeing for local residents.” Says Julie, a member of St Andrew’s Eco Group. 

The aim is to be a space where anyone in the community and the church can sit and enjoy the space that will be planted with plants that improve wellbeing. The space is for everyone, maybe someone enjoying their lunch, having a time of quiet reflection, taking a break in the day or just waiting for their prescriptions at the nearby pharmacy. 

“Many people feel close to God in creation so we may be able to provide activities to help people do that.”

The garden will also open up opportunities to volunteer and help others. St Andrew’s are inviting volunteers to join in with building, planting and maintaining the garden, to contribute to their community and learn new skills. 

“We’d like it to be a space people will feel welcome to enjoy as it is or have some involvement in helping create it. We want to make it wheelchair friendly and have accessible areas for people who have reduced mobility to be involved with gardening if they would like to.”

The plan is to complete the design and apply for funding in the next few months and to begin the groundwork and any carpentry and building of fixtures over winter. Planting will begin in spring 2024. 

St Andrew’s congregation members are already getting their hands dirty and with the guidance and advice from RHS Wisley; work is well underway. But, St Andrew’s is looking for more people to get involved. 

“We will be speaking to staff in the local shops and the children and young people in the uniformed organisations to see if they would like to volunteer to help us with the initial building of the garden.”

Three men with gardening gloves and tools, holding and celebrating the removal of hedge roots Large timber sleeper gardening boxes siting on a lawn with hedges and trees nearby surrounded by construction warning tape

Do you want to get involved? St Andrew’s wants to see the garden finished by summer 2024. Please get in touch with Julie and the Eco Group at St Andrew’s if you want to join in, email: julie@standrewsgwp.org

And, follow the garden’s progress on St Andrew’s Facebook page

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