Work begins on lottery-funded Victoria Square project

By Alex Jones

15th Apr 2021 | Local News

Volunteers from the community group Friends of Victoria Square have commenced work on a lottery-funded project that aims to rejuvenate the area for people and wildlife.

Over the Easter weekend, almost a dozen ecologically-minded residents set about planting trees and excavating soil to establish a bog garden.

Bog gardens are known to stimulate biodiversity, serving as excellent habitats for a wide range of animals.

The group hope to have planted wildflower gardens, fruit trees, vegetable patches, deadwood hedges, and many other biodiversity enhancers by the end of the month.

They hope to recruit a large team of amateur gardeners from diverse age groups to thereafter perform upkeep.

"The ultimate aim is to make it a more pleasurable place to come to, to walk around, to relax in and to participate in the gardening," Friends of Victoria Square Secretary Peter Blackburn tells Nub News.

The group was formed in late 2018 for the purpose of improving the ecology and biodiversity of the area.

According to Peter, the space has seldom been tended to in the past thirty years and is in need of maintenance and enhancements.

He and the group first applied for funding from the National Lottery back in 2019.

"We received £9,000 of funding from The National Lottery Heritage fund to conduct a number of baseline surveys on Trees and the general Ecology of the Square," he says.

"By the middle of 2020 we had developed a sufficiently detailed plan to be able to cost the project and submit a bid for funds to The National Lottery Heritage. In January of 2021, we were awarded a £30,000 grant."

Now the project is up and running, Peter urges residents to volunteer.

"We've had a fantastic response from volunteers so far. If you want to be a part of the project, visit our website.

"You don't need to be a gardener. You'll be joining a team with a range of skills and you'll be helped along to participate."

Peter says he hopes to have helped create something that will live on and improve the wellbeing of future generations.

"Especially at the moment we have realised how important it is to connect with nature.

"The proposed communal garden will be available for all to participate in and to experience how therapeutic gardening can be.

"Towards the end of the project, we will be conducting nature trails around the Square so that people can learn about local nature," he continues.

"We want to improve both the ecology and the social environment, because if you improve one you improve the other."

     

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