This year saw us make some successful entries into the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category as part of the Northwest in Bloom.
This category gives recognition to the efforts of local people working together to improve green spaces and the local area as part of a community project.
There are five levels of achievement which can be awarded: Level 1 which is establishing, level 2 is improving, level 3 is advancing, level 4 is thriving and level 5 is outstanding.
Below is a summary of some of our projects that won awards in ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category and how they have helped to bring members of the community together to make a positive difference to the place they live.
Tintern Place Heywood
Tintern Place in Heywood were awarded a Level 4 – Thriving for their communal garden. Residents of the four bungalows were struggling to maintain the garden and their request for help has transformed a once neglected little garden into a thriving community group.
After putting out a request for help to maintain their garden, one of the pioneers from The New Pioneers programme set up a garden gang working with residents and the RBH Neighbourhood Environment Team. They cleared out the beds, painted them up and shared their knowledge of growing. Not only did this result in a lovely green space but the project was of huge benefit to one of the pioneers who were struggling with their mental health. It gave them a focus and they are now considering gardening as a career and we have been able to provide them with some tools and equipment to help start up a gardening business.
New Pioneer Park and Walking Trail Lower Falinge
The New Pioneer Park and Walking Trail Lower Falinge were awarded Level 5 Outstanding.
The residents of Pershore block on the Lower Falinge estate were asked how they would like the grassed waterlogged area to the rear of the block improved, and they voted overwhelmingly for a walking trail. The trail is a 250-metre figure of eight pathway which can be used by less active residents to improve their fitness and stamina levels with a gentle walk. The centres of the figure eight loops have been domed and will be planted up with native wildflowers to encourage bees and other pollinators to the area. We are also going to plant fruit trees to create a community orchard.
Heady Hill Community Centre
Heady Hill Community Centre in Heywood were awarded Level 3 Advancing.
Earlier this year as part of the New Pioneers Programme the Men’s Lab at Heady Hill Community Centre was set up. Wanting to make a positive contribution to the local community one of the pioneers met with staff members from Heady Hill Community Centre, who were keen to improve the outdoor space and create an edible garden that could be used in the kitchen and to help feed residents using the warm space. The group meet weekly and working together in the garden gives the men a chance to talk to one another and provides a great support network for men while carrying out a meaningful project.
Mountside View Independent Living Scheme were awarded Level 4 Thriving. Residents created a fun and quirky garden for everyone to enjoy with lots of interesting features including a solar powered water feature and poetry. Residents have even made a feature out of a lovely textured retaining wall.
The work done by residents has been complimented work carried out by the Asset Team and the Green Team who have created an extended patio area with an integrated seating area, making more of the outdoor space accessible to everyone.
Fieldway Independent Living Scheme was awarded Level 3 Thriving.
The driving force behind the communal garden at Fieldway was Walter, who was also a volunteer at Q gardens. Unfortunately, on judging day this year Walter was feeling unwell and couldn't meet the judge. Sadly, Walter has passed away and his funeral took place during the award ceremony. The Chair of Northwest In Bloom had been trying to get the award to us before he passed. A picture of Walter was taken to the award ceremony and the group from Q gardens dedicated their special five for five award to him.
Q Gardens were awarded Level 5 – Outstanding. As Q Gardens have been awarded a Level 5 outstanding for 5 consecutive years, they received an additional award.
Having reached this milestone Q Gardens is now acting as an ambassador for those who are looking to set up a community garden to be able to come down for support and advice on what’s worked and what hasn’t.
There is always lots going on at Q Gardens and the group have worked with three local primary schools, The Prince's Trust, Rochdale AFC Community Trust, Become United, New Pioneers and other In Bloom groups. Kale plants grown at Q gardens were given out to over 400 households across the borough at Rochdale Borough Council’s Big Family Picnic along with a recipe for Kale pesto.
The Newbold Community Growing Garden
Newbold Community Growing Garden were awarded Level 3 Advancing
This is a brand-new Community Garden in Newbold who are going from strength to strength and have huge plans. They have recently secured funding from Greater Manchester Green Spaces Fund and visited the fantastic Q gardens before setting up for advice and support.
Rochdale Athletic Football Club Wonderwall
Rochdale Athletic Football Club Wonderwall were awarded Level 5 outstanding.
Working with some of the trainees from RAFC the eight-foot wall with planters on the top was awarded a level 5. Two of the trainees also volunteer at Q gardens and have shown a fantastic work ethic. The trainees were so proud to accept their award on behalf of the club and one trainee has now secured employment working match days and in the Community Trust office.
Spotland Community Centre
Spotland Community Centre were awarded a level 4 thriving.
The outdoor area at Spotland Community Centre has been transformed through work with the New Pioneers Programme and The Prince’s Trust. There is a quiet area with a nature pond, bench and perennial beds. In addition, there are the raised beds where tomatoes, peas, potatoes and onions have been grown over this last year.
The main area has raised beds filled with herbs and inspirational quotes on the walls. This year has seen a new bed being built filled with beans and sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, in recognition of the several Ukrainian pioneers we have.
The garden has a bird table and a water feature and is now being used to hold wellbeing sessions.