Partnership bears fruit with South Liverpool Homes' community garden project

Published: 20 June 2017

Work is underway to transform a neglected piece of land in Speke, South Liverpool, into a vibrant garden that the whole community can enjoy.

A clean-up of the area began on Monday 19 June to make way for this exciting new project, Grow Speke, which is located on wasteland on the corner of Damwood Road and Ganworth Road.

Pioneered by South Liverpool Homes (SLH), it is hoped that the space, which is over an acre in size, will create an area for local people to learn new skills, meet new people as well as fostering a new sense of community spirit.  It will focus on providing horticultural therapy to people with long-term health conditions as well as delivering training to people who are out of work and providing an environmental educational programme for local schools.

The project will be delivered in partnership with Groundwork and Blackburne House with plans to have features such as planting beds, polytunnels and an educational area.

SLH’s Enterprise Manager Joe Cummings is really excited about getting the project off the ground, “We are delighted to be working with Groundwork on this project which will see a vacant piece of land flourish into something that the whole community can enjoy and get involved with.”

“We chatted to local residents at a recent event,” added Joe, “to find out what they thought of the plans and if there was anything else that they think we should consider.  The response has been really positive so far and I hope that local people will get involved and help us create this attractive community garden.”

Merseyside Police has donated £30,000 to kick-start this community-spirited venture and further funds will be sought to help make the community garden a reality.

“This is an area which has had some issues with fly-tipping and small fires,” explains Inspector Andy Wignall.  “Our hope is that the range of activities available at the garden will mean it is a well-used resource that will transform the area.  The garden will be a short 15-minute walk for some 12,000 people locally and I am sure many will welcome the fact that this land, which has lain derelict for some time, will be brought back into use.”

Groundwork’s Executive Director, Andrew Darron said, The site has been used as a dumping ground for quite a while now, so we recognise that it’s an ambitious project and a huge challenge. We really need local people and organisations to get involved. Their help and support will give us a great opportunity to turn a derelict wasteland into an area that not only looks nicer, but also provides benefits and opportunities for the local community.”

The land, known locally as the old Boys Club site, is currently licensed to South Liverpool Homes and has previously been a club offering recreational and sport facilities from 1960’s to the late 1980’s.  Despite the efforts of fundraisers - former Beatles guitarist George Harrison is said to have donated £10K to keep it the club open - the club was subject to vandalism and the area has been derelict and a target for fly-tipping since.

Local residents got to see a glimpse of the project when plans were revealed at a community consultation event in May with further events planned over the coming months.