Sudbury residents restore 'sense of pride' in neighbourhood with community garden project
A community garden project has helped neighbours in a small Sudbury street restore a sense of pride and togetherness in the wake of the isolation of Covid.
Residents of Beaconsfield Close completed a new kerbside garden on a council-owned plot of grass this month, with the goal of improving the overall look of the area, as well as increasing biodiversity.
The project was conceived during lockdown, as many of the residents had got to know each other better when they met up once a week for the Clap for Carers initiative.
Melanie Barrett, a Babergh district councillor who lives in Beaconsfield Close, said there was a unanimously positive response to the idea of improving the grass patch, which many felt had become neglected and unsightly.
The initial idea was to plant a tree in honour of the late Sir Tom Moore, the nationally-recognised Armed Forces veteran, who raised millions of pounds for the NHS.
However, after they were unable to secure the relevant planning permissions, residents pitched in to purchase and plant a variety of shrubs and perennials, supported with vouchers donated by Perrywood garden centre and Waitrose in Sudbury.
“It was a sad patch of grass and we weren’t very happy with how it looked,” Mrs Barrett told the Free Press. “You see it each time you drive home and it didn’t inspire any feelings of pride in the area.
“The idea of a garden gathered pace, and we’ve had huge support from Bradley Smith and the community wardens, who rotovated the grass and have agreed to water the plants.
“We were up there planting and we had no end of people coming past and saying how great it looked. I’ve been up there when children were coming out of school and they were really taking an interest. It has been fantastic.
“It’s a very nice reflection of our work and it has increased a sense of pride.”
It is hoped that the range of plants will boost numbers of insects and other wildlife in the area, in line with other schemes in the district to enhance biodiversity.
A report by Suffolk County Council’s ecology officer, in response to the residents’ application to install the garden, stated that the mix of plants will be “aesthetically pleasing, as well as providing a valuable source of nectar for bees and other invertebrate species”.
Mrs Barrett said: “Previously, this patch of grass didn’t produce any flowers, so it was not a good environment for insects. The new garden will definitely encourage biodiversity.
“For our close itself, I think it has been really good for people. It has helped integrate some of the new neighbours, and it has really encouraged a sense of pride.
“Everyone here is feeling very positive about it. They all said they didn’t like the look of it, so it feels very empowering to feel they have taken back control of their environment.”
She added that they wanted to encourage residents in other parts of the Sudbury area to grow their own community garden.