A fenced-off area of rubble and overgrown weeds has been transformed into a community space at the Co-op Group’s food store in Long Buckby, Northants.
The local Long Buckby Gardening Club will join in with the next stage of the project, planting trees, flowers and around 30 varieties of edible herbs, which the community will be able to pick.
Children from Long Buckby Pre School and Infant School will also help with the planting, which will continue in the spring with plants that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The community garden will also feature a remembrance corner, developed in conjunction with the Co-op funeral home in Daventry.
The garden, part of a major investment by the Group this year in its Long Buckby store, was designed to foster community spirit and wellbeing, and connect children from local schools and nurseries with nature.
Store manager Carri-Anne McBride said: “We are absolutely delighted to launch the community space – we have been receiving incredible feedback. It is very rewarding, and really has made a big difference.
“The store received major investment to better serve the community earlier this year, and this is now the icing on the cake. We hope it will provide a relaxing and enjoyable space for the community to sit and enjoy the flowers, and once the garden is established we hope the fresh, healthy, herbs will be popular too.”
David Roberts, managing director, Co-op Property, said: “Green spaces bring communities together and enhance people’s wellbeing – as well as contributing to a more sustainable environment for us all. At the heart of the Co-op it is about bringing people together and creating value in our communities.
“Creating stronger communities is a cornerstone of our approach and from the feedback we have received so far we believe that this former disused ground could become a much-loved local community space.”
The move forms part of the Group’s Community Spaces campaign, run in partnership with Locality and other charities to highlight the number of community spaces at risk, and the way people can save and enhance them by working together.
The garden was officially launched on 8 October, with an event featuring a choir from the Long Buckby Pre-School and Infant School.