An underused open space in Thurrock has been transformed into a community garden and food growing space benefiting isolated residents and families thanks to a partnership between the council and Mears.
Local residents came together last weekend to celebrate the official launch of Clayburn Community Garden, which was funded and installed by Mears, as a social value project, to provide the holistic community space.
The local Mears branch successfully bid for £2,000 from the Mears Foundation which went towards the cost of plants, benches and tools.
The garden features raised beds and seating based on residents' feedback which asked for a mixture of flowers, herbs, vegetables, salad crops and sensory plants. They have also been labelled in English and Polish for everyone to enjoy.
Catherine Anderson, Mears Contract Manager, and Gary Luscombe, Head of Operations said:
Mears has been really pleased to work with Thurrock residents on the community garden. We have really enjoyed working with our local suppliers and subcontractors to create the community garden and the community interaction was even better than expected, which has made the project even more enjoyable.
We are confident this will be another local space where people will come together and enjoy a space with their neighbours.
Cllr Luke Spillman, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
This initiative is a fantastic example of boosting health and wellbeing in the local community, alongside tackling social isolation and loneliness which many of us have felt throughout the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We engaged with the local community throughout the entire process to foster a sense of ownership and care for the space.
Thank you to the many council services who have worked on this project and to Mears for funding and installing this garden which will be enjoyed for years to come.
A member of the Clayburn Community Garden Gardening Group said:
As a sufferer of mental health and anxiety issues, I find gardening therapeutic and relaxing, it gives my mind something to focus on and it also gives me the opportunity to interact with others as talking helps with my issues. I’m looking forward to growing our own produce and being able to tend to the flowers, and wellbeing of the herbs.
Thurrock Council has set up a #GrowingThurrockCommunities network on Facebook to encourage like-minded council tenants and leaseholders to grow their own food or get involved in a community space.