Swaledale community gardens gets grant boost

One of the orchard garden volunteers at the new compost bins.

A thriving community garden in Swaledale that benefits residents and visitors alike has been boosted by a grant from Broadacres.

The grant, from the housing association’s sustainability fund, has paid for new compost bays which now help to nourish Reeth Community Orchard Garden including its wildflower meadow, perennial border and apple orchard featuring 26 different varieties.

A haven for bees, butterflies and other insect life, the garden is open throughout the year and is tended by an 8-strong team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Committee Chair Chris Browne was part of the team that first took on the task 20 years ago of creating the walled garden in the grounds of Hudson House, the former Barclays Bank, reclaiming it from a totally overgrown and uncared for condition.

He said sustainability is key in terms of generating sufficient income from plant, seed and produce sales, to cover costs and in maintaining the beds by recycling plant materials. The Garden is also a focal point for the local community who gather each autumn to make juice from the apple crop and sometimes cider.

“The old compost bays had been used for many years and the panels had become decayed and in need of replacement. This grant allowed us to do that, and the new bays are now in full use,” said Chris.

One bay is used for leaves whilst the other two bays allow a two-year breakdown of other compostable materials which then goes back into the garden.

“Reeth is a very popular town which is on the coast to coast walk and so can get very busy,” said Chris.

“The orchard garden allows all ages to enjoy some calm whether that’s toddlers playing safely on the lawns or people taking the opportunity for some rest and reflection on one of the benches.”

Helen Ball, Broadacres’ Senior Sustainability Manager, said: “We were delighted to support such a fantastic community initiative like this which brings so much pleasure to local people.”

The Broadacres’ Sustainability Fund provides funding of up to £500 (£1,000 in exceptional cases) for local projects which:

  • Protect or create areas for wildlife
  • Involve tree planting
  • Encourage or enable people in the community to grow their own fruit and/or vegetables
  • Protect or create an outdoor space for local communities to enjoy

People/organisations who would like to apply for funding through the sustainability fund can do by visiting www.broadacres.org.uk/customer-area/getting-involved/sustainability-fund/