Lifeline ‘lockdown garden’ back in bloom after theft

25 May, 2021

A Salford community group left devasted after being targeted by thieves has bounced back, thanks to a helping hand from Salix Homes.

The Bridgewater Residents Association manages a community garden on East Philip Street in Trinity, which has proved a lifeline for many people struggling during the pandemic.

During the past year, the garden, which is maintained entirely by volunteers, has provided vital outdoor space for local residents, especially those without gardens and struggling with the lockdown restrictions.

But last summer, the volunteers were devastated to find two large planters had been stolen and the plants ripped out.

Volunteer Rik Critchley said: “The two stolen planters had been paid for by donations and fundraising within the community, so it was really upsetting to find they had been taken. 

“Residents had planted them with herbs so that everyone could make use of them - they belonged to the whole community. The plants were just chucked out and most were destroyed. The planters were very heavy, so someone must have specifically targeted the community garden.”

Now Salix Homes has come to the rescue, donating £505 via its Springboard community fund, to replace the planters with raised beds and enable the group to host more gardening activities for the community.

Graham Donning, treasurer of Bridgewater Residents Association, added: “Our group represents a community of over 200 homes in the area with people from all walks of life. The garden has become a focal point for the community, providing essential open space for residents in flats with no gardens. 

“The garden provides a place to play, relax, plant and learn for all residents and has proven invaluable during lockdown. Despite the theft, we didn’t give up, and we are so pleased that Salix Homes has agreed to support the garden and assist with buying new planters.

“The new raised beds are much bigger and easier for people to use, saving them from bending down, so more residents will be able to take part in gardening days throughout the year, using the planters all year round to grow flowers, as well as edible produce, such as herbs and vegetables.”

Bridgewater Residents Association has used the Springboard funding to purchased raised beds made by Incredible Edible Salford, which is a community project that provides accessible and affordable food, fresh fruit and vegetables to residents in Salford.  

Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “After a year spent mostly inside, I think we have all started to appreciate the positive impact of going out and enjoying some fresh air, so we’re so pleased to support such a worthwhile initiative that has proved so beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

“Our Springboard grant programme exists to support groups and individuals who are making a real difference in our communities, and we know the community garden is well used by many of our residents living nearby, particularly those in our high-rise buildings.

“While it’s a real shame that the planters were stolen in the first place, we’re glad that the volunteers haven’t been deterred by this selfish act and we look forward to seeing the garden back in full bloom.”

Springboard is a community grant programme that provides funding to local projects that boost community spirit, promote health and wellbeing, reduce isolation and improve the environment. Find out more about how to apply here.

More information about the Bridgewater Residents Association Community Garden can be found on their Facebook page.