A people-powered Stroud charity has announced a funding success that will improve a green space for the community, writes Kerri Tyler.
Stroud Valleys Project (SVP), which is based at the eco shop in the centre of Stroud, applied for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to continue their work at the Sensory Garden in Stratford Park, and they learned in September that their bid had been successful.
The funding pot is worth £75,585 over two years, and will enable SVP to expand and improve the Sensory Garden and work with more community groups to bring their ideas to life.
The area, which lies between Stratford Park’s skate park and leisure centre, includes a raised bed for visually impaired people and wheelchair users, willow tunnels, a labyrinth, sound boxes and a textured trail.
SVP plans to use some of the funding to improve the trail and add a water feature, both of which have been requested by people who visit the garden.
“It’s been a long journey since we sat down with Creative Sustainability and Daisy Bank Garden Design to work out how best to meld community engagement and garden planning to transform the former putting green,” said SVP’s CEO Clare Mahdiyone.
“For this community-forward project which has developed over seven years, we’ve worked closely with Stratford Park Maintenance team and Stroud District Council, who’ve also helped fund it, and we’ve had funding through the People’s Postcode Lottery as well as through the National Lottery Community Fund.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, this community gem will continue to improve and develop with the loving care of our dedicated volunteers. We’re delighted we can continue to work with wonderful community groups including Sunflowers Suicide Support, BarBar Nursery and our own Creative Shed team, as well as new teams from Thomas Keble School and Selsley Cubs.
“We spoke to hundreds of people using the garden during the summer – some people had come from Gloucester and Bristol to spend time in Stratford Park – and the love they shared for our Sensory Garden was humbling. We’re so proud of the work our partners and volunteers have done here, and we’re hugely grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for seeing its value and continuing to fund it for the people of Stroud – and for visitors, too.”