IM Properties’ Mercia Park Community Fund is helping to bring life back to Measham Millenium Garden through supporting a community Green Gym which promotes gardening for health.
£5,000 has been donated to the project to help fund a project leader and equipment for the local organisation known as The Conservation Volunteers, to clear and replant the community garden.
Previously a favoured spot for anti-social behaviour, littering and vandalism, the Green Gym provides a space to promote health and wellbeing through food growing and conservation.
The Mercia Park Community Fund is set up to help local organisations surrounding IM Properties’ Mercia Park scheme near junction 11, M42, gain both a social and economic value from the development.
Ben Woolley leads the Green Gym at Measham for The Conservation Volunteers and as a previous beneficiary of one of their projects, he now helps to support others.
Ben said: “Everyone has different needs in the group and things that they want to get out of the sessions when we meet once a week to do the garden.”
Initially delayed in preparing the ground due to COVID, the Green Gym was started online and volunteers were given seedlings to grow indoors.
“It’s never going to be Kew Gardens in the time that we have but it’s more about the positive impact it has on people,” added Ben
“One person said the weekly group felt like a second family and another said they hadn’t noticed nature as much and was seeing it more in their own garden.
“It’s recognising that small steps forward can lead to a bigger picture and next year the garden will leap forward with all the groundwork we’ve done to date.”
Local businesses have been joining in with the Green Gym too. One local company, Secure Labels, gives all their staff a couple of hours each week to join in and give something back.
Kerry Amory, social value manager for IM Properties recently visited the group to see for herself how the community fund was helping projects to thrive in the local area.
“Through the pandemic, I think we all connected with nature a little more and there’s plenty of evidence to show the huge well-being benefits being outdoors can bring.
“Anyone who has ever done gardening also knows what a great workout it can be!”
“Ben is a fantastic leader and lets everyone go at their own pace and take ownership of the areas they enjoy. We look forward to revisiting the project as it progresses and seeing the fruits of their labour.”
This year’s haul has seen an abundance of pumpkins, onions and beetroots. The Conservation Volunteers hope in future years, the community will also be able to come together to cook and eat the produce.
For further information on Mercia Park Community Fund and available grants visit https://www.llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funds/mercia-park