Faith in the garden
Published 01 August 2012
The Church of England has got behind a new community garden project in Durham.
The Shildon Community Garden is situated near the railway museum and includes raised beds, a compost toilet and an educational building for local children.
The garden was formally opened by the Bishop of Jarrow, the Rt Rev Mark Bryant. He praised the way in which the project had involved people of all ages.
"It‘s clearly enabling people to do all sorts of things that a year ago they would never have imagined were possible," he said.
"The more that we can bring people together that means that there is less loneliness, people start to discover that they can achieve things and that generally makes our communities healthier and happier places for everybody.”
The garden is part of the 'Faith in the Community' programme, which is backed by the Diocese of Durham and aims to increase the Church of England's involvement in local community life.
Bernadette Askins, the Diocesan Faith in the Communities project co-ordinator, said: “This was one of the first Faith in the Community projects and it is just brilliant to see where they are five years on.
"They have worked so hard at it with so many people from the community working with them. It‘s been absolutely fantastic.”
In addition to the Church, support has come from local schools and some of the funding has been provided by Awards for All and the Area Action Partnership.
Paula Nelson was on the committee that worked with other volunteers to create the garden.
She said: “It is absolutely fantastic. I have wanted it for a long time for children and vulnerable people to come down and just have some fun and learn about allotments because, when I was little girl, my grandad taught me how to plant and I want kids to learn how to do it.”
St John’s Church in Shildon played a key role in developing the project.
David Tomlinson, Curate at St John's, said: “It’s about empowering people to discover gifts and talents that they didn’t know they had. It‘s about learning together, breaking down inter-generational gaps and children discovering skills that their grandparents have.
"Sadly, these days with tiny pocket-sized gardens and busy lives gardening can be neglected.
“It also allows church to be what church is called to be, a light in the community which allows people to see something of who they are in Christ because of discovering their innate gifts and abilities."
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