From derelict garage site to Community Garden
In March 2007, The Goldington Community Safety Forum met to discuss alternative uses for some disused bpha garage sites. These sites had attracted a lot of negative attention from groups of youths including vandalism, graffiti and general anti-social behaviour. Several suggestions were discussed and it was agreed to go forward with the idea of a community garden.
“Golden Gardens” was born in 2007
The idea was to create community garden, on a disused bpha garage site in Goldington, Bedford:
A ‘green’ training area, in Elliot Crescent, where the local community could grow food and plants.
In August 2007, after submitting an application to the “People’s Millions BIG Lottery”, bpha’s “Golden Garden” project was chosen to go forward to a public vote. (The BIG Lottery initiative holds a public vote on a range of projects, to allow people to choose how Lottery money should be spent.)
Woodside schoolchildren enthusiastically donned T-shirts to promote the Golden Garden bid and they were featured in the November 2007, Anglia TV programme. On 29th November, Golden Garden won the public vote - the children were delighted when we were presented with £80,000;
Now the hard work was to begin;
A steering group was formed, including members of the local community and bpha staff from; Community Development, Housing Management, Property Services and New Initiatives departments. Also partnering this project, were representatives from; Bedford Borough Council, Street Rangers and a local professional gardener - who kindly provided free gardening advice and support throughout the project.
Throughout this project, bpha have supported a community group of over 20 residents, all of whom were actively involved from the early stages. The local children and young people continued their involvement by putting forward their own ideas and designs for the garden and they enjoyed being involved in painting the colourful mural at Elliot Crescent.
So, an ugly site, that had previously attracted vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour, was transformed. And is now a beautiful place, where residents can now meet together to tend plants, grow their own food or simply to relax & enjoy the outdoors in pleasant surroundings.
From the start, this project has captured the imagination of the local people - the final design for the garden and all the activities for the opening event were decided on by the residents of Goldington.
All good things come to those who wait!
At the end of a very busy 18 months, the official opening of ‘Golden Garden’ took place, with a celebration that involved the whole community at a carnival-style event, on Saturday 20th September 2008.
The opening event began at Elliot Crescent, Bedford with refreshments, face painters and a local youth theatre group gave a song and dance performance. We had a fancy dress competition and prizes were awarded for the best outfits.
We had a delightful tea party, which included a delicious "Golden Gardens" cake, which was enjoyed by all.
COMMUNITY DREAMS CAN COME TRUE!