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Lottery grant paves way for improvements to community garden

A community garden that has helped revitalise a Stafford neighbourhood has been made easier to use thanks to a freshly laid pathway, funded by a £10,000 National Lottery grant.

Before and after improvement works at Colanley GardensColanley Gardens in Larkins Rise has provided a community space for residents to meet and mix, bringing together neighbours old and young and improving relations across the area.

The former wasteland was transformed six years ago by a residents’ group, supported by The Wrekin Housing Trust and Stafford Borough Council. It has since been used to run gardening projects and events, such as summer fayres and Halloween pumpkin carving, which organisers say has also transformed their community.

Resident group members Joan Oakley and Fran Bromley, who have been involved in the project from the start, applied for the lottery grant after the path through the gardens became overgrown and unsafe.

Joan said: “It’s amazing the difference this plot of land has made to our community. It has given people a focus, somewhere pleasant to spend time where we can come together, get to know each other and enjoy socialising.

“People of all ages come and enjoy the space, but the path has been deteriorating for a while, getting more overgrown and difficult to walk on.

“It was becoming a real issue for elderly residents and difficult for pushchairs and wheelchair users.

“We’re thrilled to be awarded this grant. The new path will mean the gardens can become a hub of community activity again.”

The pathway was completed last month by R. D. Marsh Surfacing Contractors Ltd.

A celebratory opening event is being planned for December, which will also raise funds for the next stage of development.

“The next thing we want to do is connect a water supply in the grounds, so that we can water the allotments and gardens without having to bring bottles of water from home,” said Fran.

“We have some money in the pot but need about £1,200 more. We’re hoping a Christmas event will go a long way to raising that and will be able to share details of that soon.”

28th November 2018