Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, visits and blesses St Cuthbert's Community Gardens
After a strenuous morning, weeding, clearing and trimming the gardens, the volunteer team were ready for a break. Help was at hand when Lee Finnegan, community member and contextual pathway Ordinand at St Hild's Theological College, appeared with 'sausage butties' and hot drinks! The volunteers, a mixture of St Cuthbert's Church members and participants from the wider community, have assembled regularly during the last few months to tend and build the gardens. Twelve new raised beds have so far been constructed, adding to those installed in 2020, and filled with bedding plants, tomato bushes and vegetables of various sorts. The colourful displays have been warmly welcomed by local residents, and many have commented positively on the new developments in St Cuthbert's grounds. it is hoped that funding can be obtained to supplement the three recently-installed sheds with two polycarbonate greenhouses, to enable seedlings to be grown and over-wintered safely.
Revd Andrew Cromarty, Vicar and Project Lead, introduced +Helen-Ann to those gathered in St Cuthbert's Church, prior to making a presentation, with slides, telling the story of the emergence of the project, and using this as an opportunity to thank all those involved. Thanks were extended also to those individuals and bodies which have given towards the costs incurred, with grants, financial donations and donations-in-kind all having contributed towards making the dream a reality. +Helen-Ann spoke warmly about the motivation and execution of the project, and was pleased to view the gardens and speak with volunteers. She then kindly prayed for the project, and blessed it, before engaging in further conversation with the volunteers over afternoon tea, with a wonderful spread provided by various members.
The aim of the St Cuthbert's Community Gardens project is to encourage church- and wider community members to come together in cultivating flowers, and in growing vegetables, herbs and soft fruit. The produce will both be shared between the volunteers and freely offered to people outside. It has been exciting to see the way in which various individuals have been willing to engage in the building and filling of raised beds, the siting and building of sheds, the planting of seedlings and bedding plants, and the vital process of daily watering, through the drier times. It is hoped that, perhaps, in time, expertise and labour may be shared more widely, enabling others from the local community to benefit from smaller raised beds on their doorstep.
For more information, or if you wish to join us, call Revd Andrew on 07717226791.