A group of green-fingered tenants from a housing estate in Conwy are looking forward to taste of the Good Life by growing their own fruit and veg.
The Go Green group on Parc Peulwys in Llysfaen above Old Colwyn is establishing a community garden after clinching the lease on a parcel of land on the estate.
As well as growing their own produce, the tenants will be cultivating a beautiful children’s garden when they transform the 51 metres by 22 metres plot into a valuable community space.
To help them get the project underway, housing association Cartrefi Conwy who manage Parc Peulwys helped organise training sessions on operating a rotovator machine.
Community members were thrilled at being given the chance to dig in and make use of a rotovator which they bought with a grant.
Peulwys resident Leon Jackson, who is secretary of the community’s Go Green group, said: “Everyone is very excited about taking this project forward to the next stage.”
It couldn’t have come at a better time for the tenants with the spring and summer seasons on the way.
According to Cartrefi Conwy Community Engagement Co-ordinator Vin Murtagh, the land conversion project will make a big difference to the Peulwys community.
There was, he said, already a lot of enthusiasm for the idea of turning it into a truly interactive plot for people to grow fruit and vegetables and teach their children some gardening basics.
He said: “There’s a lot of commitment to this scheme among local residents and I know they will do their utmost to cultivate and maintain a productive community garden here for many years to come.”
Chairman of Peulwys Estate Go Green group, Ray Mathers, agreed, saying: “We have generated quite a few ideas about how to make the best use of this land for the benefit of the entire community.
“We will be cultivating a community garden, community growing area and a natural play space for local children. There is still a lot of work ahead to turn the dream into reality but we are very much looking forward to making a start.”
The rotovator lesson was given by health and safety expert, and City and Guilds qualified tutor, Tony Appleby of Pentrefoelas.
Tony said: “They’ve all been very keen and eager to have a go. The rotovator will save them hours of hard slog digging with garden shovels and it will keep the ground in great condition. It’s a really useful tool for them to have especially when they face such a big project over the coming months.”
Cartrefi Conwy arranged for Tony to provide the rotovator training session and also invited gardening group members from other Cartrefi Conwy estates to come along, including Kinmel Bay and Llanwrst.
Also spurring the Peulwys scheme on is the tenants group receiving two bumper-sized boxes of protective clothing donated by Cartrefi Conwy suppliers Travis Perkins, and workwear company Samco.
Opening the boxes which contained about 20 sets of wellingtons, waterproof trousers, jackets and gardening gloves, Go Green secretary Leon Jackson said: “These are a real boost to us. It would have cost hundreds of pounds for us to buy equipment like this and that would have involved a whole lot of fundraising. Having this gear for our volunteers to wear sets us off to a flying start.”
The Go Green group organises several other local community events annually and during some of them it has been sounding out residents for feedback on the idea of the community garden.
Leon said: “There is huge enthusiasm on the ground here. In our most recent survey 85 residents expressed an interest in taking on one of the community growing plots, and more than 200 people wanted to see the community garden and children’s natural play space happen.”
Cartrefi Conwy communications and marketing assistant, Linda Humphreys, was impressed by the quick learning of the tenants who attended the rotovator training.
She said: “This has been a really useful exercise which will benefit this community long term. We’re all now very excited to follow the progress of this plot of land and eventually see it transformed into a thriving hub of community activities. Roll on summer!”
It was a sentiment echoed by Cartrefi Conwy Managing Director Gwynne Jones He said: “The community garden project fits in perfectly with our ethos of building communities to be proud of.
“We are also grateful to our suppliers for donating the protective clothing and wellingtons to the Go Green Group. So no matter what the weather is they will still be able to roll their sleeves up to get growing.”