29 Jun 2018

Community garden in Calne celebrates its grand reopening

  • Anne-Marie and son Casey

Residents of Fitzmaurice Square in Calne celebrated the grand reopening of their community garden in the sunshine this week (Wednesday 27 June). 

Over the past 18 months, GreenSquare and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, along with the Community Payback Team, have been working hard to bring the communal garden area at Fitzmaurice Square back to life. 

Sue Matthews, Community Involvement Officer at GreenSquare, explained: "The communal garden really has undergone a huge transformation. Gone is the huge tree that dominated the area, along with the broken walls, stepped access and uneven paving slabs. The new sloped access (suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs), level paving, and raised beds make the garden accessible to all.”

The work was carried out by the Wiltshire Community Payback Team, as part of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Milestones project, which helps young people to connect with their local, natural environment. This was in part funded by the Big Lottery Fund, who recently awarded Wiltshire Wildlife Trust with a grant of £1million as part of the Our Bright Future programme.

Dean Sherwin from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This community garden has been a real labour of love for Simon and Tony from Milestones and for the Community Payback team. It is wonderful to see so many local residents attending the opening, especially all the children. One child asked me if she could plant flowers that are good for bees and butterflies – of course she can!"

GreenSquare provided funding for the materials used for the garden and organised the celebration event, which was attended by more than 30 residents, including many children. 

Sue Matthews continued: “It was great to see so many people come out to celebrate the garden’s reopening and we hope it’s now a place that all residents will enjoy for many years to come.”

Fitzmaurice Square resident, Anne-Marie Simpkins (pictured with son Casey), said: “We think it’s excellent that the garden has been redone like this. We can see it directly from our windows, so my son Casey has been eagerly watching the progress out here – he’s been so excited for it to reopen! 

“The area wasn’t safe for younger children to play in before because the ground was uneven and the steps were dangerous. It was just really neglected.  But now that it’s much more accessible, I’d happily let my children play out here, particularly because I can easily see them from my home. Once all the planters have been filled, I think it will look really nice.”

There are plans to hold a family planting day at the garden during the summer holidays.