Community garden plan a step closer

Sam EmanuelA community group has been awarded a massive grant to kick-start its garden project.Sam Emanuel

A community group has been awarded a massive grant to kick-start its garden project.

The Grapes Hill Community Garden Group, which plan to convert a run down concrete play area off Grapes Hill into a community garden, has been given �9,400 by Norwich City Council to pay for the installation of secure railings and a gate for the garden.

The garden will be used by the community to grow organic vegetables and improve the poor air quality in the area through the planting of trees shrubs and flowers.

The money has been provided as part of Respect funding, given to Norwich City Council by the Department of Children Schools and Families in recognition of Norwich's work to tackle antisocial behaviour as a Respect Action Area.

The group is hoping local businesses or trust funds will now provide match funding, and it will also soon be applying for a �50,000 community spaces grant to finish the project.

Fran Ellington, secretary of the group, said she expects to hear whether her bid has been successful in the early summer.

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She added: 'We are over the moon about getting this money. Now we are looking for local businesses to get in touch and come and give us some quotes for the iron railings. We also need a bit more money so we can finish the railings all the way round, but the amount we need depends on what we are quoted, obviously.

'I had hoped we would be able to apply for the �50,000 grant by the end of January, but I want to make sure it is all done properly, and a quantity surveyor has offered his services for free, so he is now doing some really accurate calculations so that when I apply I know exactly what it will all be spent on.

'We should be starting work by June or July, which means we will be able to plant the shrubs in the autumn and winter, which I have been told is the best time to plant them, and then they will be ready for everyone to enjoy next spring.'

Anyone interested in doing the work or helping with the garden should call Fran Ellington on 07729 540 482.

Are you starting a community project? Call Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email