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Date: 27/07/2017

One of Worcestershire’s leading housing associations is calling for volunteers to get involved with a community garden project.

Fortis Living – which provides more than 15,000 homes throughout Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire – is encouraging Malvern residents to help turn a piece of unused land at Elgar Park in the town into a community garden for all to enjoy.
The finished garden – which will be known as Pickersleigh Community Garden – will provide a much needed space for events and activities such as children and adult gardening groups, interaction with local schools, educational workshops and community BBQs.
Ben Roberts, Community Officer at Fortis Living explained: “We are delighted that we can now start work on developing a community garden that residents can be proud of.  But we need your help!  We are looking for people of any gardening ability to get involved and help turn a patch of grass into a space for all to enjoy.  There is no commitment to attend regularly, a couple of hours a week or just on an occasional basis are both welcome and there are opportunities for all ages.  Anybody who gardens knows that there are enormous mental and physical health benefits including stress reduction, improved emotional wellbeing and better brain function.”
The project – which aims to be completed by spring of next year – will include installing a system to harvest rainwater and building raised beds so that it is accessible to all.  By introducing a composting system, a shed and a greenhouse, it is hoped the garden will become self-sufficient and grow produce throughout the year.  The Royal Horticultural Society also recommends keeping bees as well as developing a pond and specialised zones such as a wilderness area.
Thanks to Tesco Bags of Help fund and Malvern Hills District Council Section 106 funding a start has been made on the project, some equipment has been purchased and funding will also be allocated to various groups within the local community in order for them to buy items that they would like to see in the garden.
Fortis Living has created community gardens in Worcester and Droitwich over the past few years.  The Droitwich garden – which is situated on Winslow Avenue – has already achieved an RHS level 5 award, the highest award that can be gained. The Warndon based Worcester garden is also at level 5.
Ben concluded: “Our aim is to turn a derelict patch of grass into a lovely, well cared for space that offers a host of opportunities for local residents. Community gardens such as the ones in Worcester and Droitwich, provide a wonderful space for people to come together and, for example, find fellowship in growing or learning about food as well as cooking in a healthy environment.”
To find out more or get involved please contact Ben Roberts, Community Officer at Fortis Living on 01684 579328 or email him at; alternatively search for Pickersleigh Community Garden on Facebook or Twitter.