Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Background

We are a small community charity who have recently taken over an historic walled garden, annexed to the Blaise House Museum in North Bristol.
It was used by the Council as a plant nursery but when this was relocated,the garden gates were locked and left virtually untouched for 15 years. Local people, feeling this to be a tragic waste of a wonderful site with great potential, finally convinced the Council to lease the land to us to create a community garden.
When first entering the garden, the 7 large greenhouses (some Victorian), plus a training building and office, had been lost to the brambles and trees growing through the broken glass.

Current Position

After two years, we have cleared 3 large greenhouses and successfully planted them up with flowers and vegetables. We are attracting a growing number of local volunteers of all ages, and hundreds have passed through on our open days. Produce from the site is sold off at the garden itself, and at local events, with the proceeds ploughed back into the project for tools, soil and seeds.
This model works well for modest expenditure, but we now need to restore one of the remaining propagating greenhouses, which is currently beyond our resources to achieve. At the moment it is in a sad state of repair and unsafe to enter. The glass is becoming looser in its frame and, with every storm, more panes fall to the ground and smash (see photo). Not only is this wasted potential, but it presents us with an on-site safety hazard that restricts some public access.
The Council are supportive but cannot provide any financial help.

The Future?

If we were able to restore the building, it would:

• Make the whole site safer to introduce children from the 3 local schools, local scout groups and vulnerable adults to education, exercise and inspire.
• Provide a weather proof environment to meet and hold training sessions on basic horticulture.
• Help to extend the growing season for more sensitive plants, making the whole garden project more self-sustaining.
We estimate that the restoration effort (involving minor structural work and the replacement of the glass) to cost no more than £1000, and to be completed in no more than 6 weeks.
Please see the following link to the garden website: http://blaisecommunitygarden.org.uk

Blaise Community Garden

Moment of Pride

The Secret Garden Project was only possible with the tenacity, hard work and enthusiasm of a small but now rapidly growing band of volunteers. The local community have, through their own efforts, transformed a closed, neglected wasteland into a truly amazing and productive garden open to all.

Location: Bristol