The Mayor of Slough officially opened the new-look Pippins Park Herb Garden in Colnbrook on Friday, May 6 with TV presenter and well-known greengrocer Chris Bavin.
The Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Rasib was introduced by one of the stars of BBC TV’s Eat Well For Less? They both took time out from their busy schedules to attend the event, while pupils at Pippins School ended their day at Pippins Park to celebrate the collaboration between their school and the community.
Left to right: Presenter of BBC TV’s Eat Well For Less? and award-winning greengrocer Chris Bavin joined The Mayor of Slough, Councillor Mohammed Rasib and the driving force behind the project Joanne Doyle to open the new Pippins Park Herb Garden.
Local school mum Joanne Doyle has been leading the campaign to tidy and regenerate the garden, working with a group of volunteers to strip out the original overgrown plants, replacing them with fresh new herbs and flowers for the benefit of the whole community.
In addition, a wildlife village is being built to encourage schoolchildren from Pippins School to become interested in nature, and Slough Borough Council has also approved a proposal planned for next year for local artists to showcase their work alongside the garden.
Colnbrook-based Grundon Waste Management provided £500 towards the project to help the group buy equipment, fencing and tools, while Thames Water Charities Commission also contributed towards topsoil, turf and plants with the project fulfilling their criteria of ‘Water and the environment’ and ‘Water and healthy living.’
Chris, who as well as appearing alongside Gregg Wallace of Masterchef fame, runs a successful home delivery fruit and veg box service, was full of praise for the work achieved so far.
“It’s great to see so much enthusiasm,” he said. “This is a brilliant initiative – you can’t beat fresh home-grown herbs for flavour and the fact that everyone can now pop down and pick a few sprigs to add to their favourite recipe is fantastic, well done to everyone involved.”
Jo, who only joined Pippins School’s gardening club last year, says she has been overwhelmed with the amount of support from Colnbrook Community Partnership, Colnbrook Residents Association and local volunteers.
“So many people have helped out, not just with the gardening but with other things such as fundraising and donating items, which has been wonderful. We have a complete spectrum of volunteers, including Pat and Jim who laid 28 square meters of turf, not bad considering Pat turned 79 this year and Jim is retired!,” she said. “The herb garden has become a real community project and as well as getting the children involved, we’re also hoping the school kitchen will able to make use of the produce.
Head Teacher, Tracy Ball added: “The herb garden project has brought the local community together to evolve and nurture the project to its present day form. This area has been created for children from the school to use; not just learning about the different herbs, but having a maintained area to sit and carry out other activities e.g. reading, playing games and the like.”
The children from the gardening club have all been involved in the project and will continue to support and maintain the herb garden and the compost created at school will also be contributing to the growth and wellbeing of the garden. It will also allow the children to contribute to the visual elements with creative arts and the like. Children have learnt about how the community has come together to create an area where all can access and share in the crop that is being grown by them and the community.
Thames Water Charities Commission, and support from Colnbrook Community Partnership, Colnbrook Residents Association and local volunteers.
Anthony Foxlee-Brown, marketing & communications manager at Grundon, said: “We always like to support initiatives in and around our locations and this one had all the right ingredients to enable us to make a donation.
“It’s a great idea and, the fact that we work really hard to encourage people to reduce the amount of food they throw away makes this a topic really close to our hearts. For the whole community to be able to pick a few fresh herbs as and when they need them, has to be a great solution.”
Jo has launched a herb garden Facebook page and put together a month-by-month activity plan, which she hopes will help to attract more willing volunteers to support the project in the longer term. She will also continue with fund raising efforts and plans to hold activities such as art groups and storytelling sessions inside the garden.
The herb garden was originally installed as an eco-initiative in 2012, by Slough Borough Council in conjunction with Groundwork South and Colnbrook Community Partnership.
Ray Angell from the Colnbrook Community Partnership said: “From outset in 2012 the Partnership felt the herb garden, has been a great example of the community pulling together with the school to create an ongoing project that will reap rewards for the community and the school.”
To volunteer or make a donation email firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘Friend’ the Facebook group ‘pippinspark.herbgarden’.
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