The Blooming Bee Garden is a wonderful community gardening project, ran entirely by volunteers and residents of the Platt and Worsley Court buildings in Rusholme, South Manchester.
The group first got together in late 2019 with aims to develop and maintain the garden for the over 200 Platt and Worsley social housing residents. The group aims to cultivate the garden as an urban ‘green corridor’, providing shelter, food and a living landscape for birds and insects. Our cities are notoriously hostile environments to wildlife, and this project provides a little haven for our smaller neighbours to share and thrive in. The garden contains loads of planters, with many planters maintained collectively to grow fruit and vegetables to share amongst the residents, and some planters are maintained by individual residents to grow their own chosen greenery! The garden area has a walkway, flower beds, and seating for residents to enjoy. One Manchester are the social housing providers responsible for the flats, and they support the volunteers in any repairs required on the site, and by general maintenance of the grounds surrounding the flats.
The Courts are high-rise flats for over 50s, with many residents in receipt of state pension, universal credit and other benefits. Analysis by Friends Of The Earth UK revealed a marked disparity in access to green space in the UK with strong correlation between green space deprivation and ethnicity. Manchester has some of the most deprived council wards in England, and lack of green space for individuals and communities affects our neighbours greatly, including here in Rusholme. The ultimate goal of the Blooming Bee Garden was to make it easier for neighbours to socialise, encourage them to work together as a community, combat isolation and improve health and wellbeing. It can be hard to foster a sense of neighbourliness when living in high rise flats, but what better way to do it than with a shared garden, maintained and appreciated by all?
Recently they installed a gazebo and additional seating to provide more safe areas allowing residents to use the garden in a socially distanced way. But with 200 residents, many of whom are older and have additional physical requirements, seating space is very much at a premium. We were proud to award the group with a grant from our Stronger Communities Fund to purchase some additional purpose built seating, adding an extra 10 spots across 2 more seating areas in the garden. The funding also went towards some planters and extra soil & plants to make it even more gorgeous!
This grant meant so much to everyone involved:
“The volunteers and residents of the Blooming Bee Garden wanted to thank We Love Manchester for its amazing support which will help us to provide more seating and garden areas for people to use the garden safely. Many residents live in isolation and the opportunity to befriend other residents safely, in a pleasant environment is a real boost to their well-being””
The pictures speak for themselves, what a beautiful space! We’ll bring you updates as we get them.
If you know a space in your patch of Manchester that could do with a bit of love, will help strengthen community bonds, and there’s a team of volunteers ready to put the work in – read about the Stronger Communities Fund on our website: www.welovemcrcharity.org/apply-for-funding/stronger-communities-fund/