Leamington church teams up with young people working with the Prince's Trust to help transform community garden

The project is part of the church’s drive to become an eco-church and 11 students have helped to lay the foundations for the future of the church’s garden

Young people working with The Prince’s Trust have completed the first stage in the transformation of a Leamington church’s community garden.

Dale Street Methodist Church is working in partnership with the Prince’s Trust Team Programme on a three-part project to create a new community garden, which will grow produce that can then be given to local people.

The project is part of the church’s drive to become an eco-church and 11 students have helped to lay the foundations for the future of the church’s garden.

From left to right - Kelcie Griffin, Kian Sheepy, Teisha-Lee Tunnicliffe, Lewis Jones, Tom Pilley and Charlie Hull. Photo supplied

The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is based at Royal Leamington Spa College and is delivered in the area by college group WCG, which is the largest provider of programmes for the Trust in England.

The young people, who had no prior experience of landscaping work, have cleared the area, built compost bins, built raised flowerbeds, planted plants and laid bark paths during the first stage of the project.

A new cohort of students enrolled on the programme will return in October to build bug hotels and bird boxes, with another group supporting the church with phase three of the project in June 2022 – with the whole project aiming to be completed in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

To help fund the work the young people raised £550 by holding a cake raffle at Royal Leamington Spa College and completing a sponsored 136 lap walk of Victoria Park in Leamington.

Jill Lloyd is heading up the project for the Dale Street Methodist Church Mission Group.

She said: “It was a delight to have the young people with us over the two-week project. They were lovely and did brilliantly in the face of some difficult weather conditions.

“The work they have done is fabulous, we’re already getting some lovely comments from passers-by and that’s before most of the plants have even flowered.

“We’ll be growing a vast range of produce in the garden, from raspberries and gooseberries, to celery and carrots. We will then be putting a box outside the church so that people who need our support can take what they need – all free of charge.

“However, we’re not only growing things in the garden, we are also creating habitats for wildlife to thrive. We’re also working to make the garden accessible for all.

“This is only the beginning of the project and we’re looking forward to working closely with The Prince’s Trust to see the project through.”

Martin Smith, The Prince’s Trust Team Leader at WCG, added: “We put out a request on social media for a project that could benefit from our support and Dale Street Methodist Church emerged as the perfect project for us to support.

“The garden is already coming together and when completed will be a perfect place right in the town centre for people to access a garden and enjoy nature.

“The students were all amateurs in this kind of work but did a professional job. They worked fantastic as a team and you could see a real sense of pride when it was completed.

“We have had great encouragement and support from the church throughout – particularly on the days when it was hammering down with rain. Despite the rain everyone stuck with it and were beaming by the end.”

To find out more about The Prince’s Trust and programmes available through WCG, and to apply to be involved in team two for the Dale Street Methodist Church go to: https://wcg.ac.uk/page/25/princes-trust