Wildlife mural unveiled at Southgate Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds

 By Sam Walker - [email protected]

A new wildlife mural with the ‘wow’ factor has been unveiled outside a community hub in Bury St Edmunds as part of a £15,000 rejuvenation project.

Members from the local community and councillors Richard Rout and Patrick Chung were on hand last week to officially reveal the new artwork outside the Southgate Community Centre.

Andy Abbott, chairman for the centre, said: “We didn’t see it until it was unveiled and it was a shock. It’s got the wow factor.

Suffolk County Councillor Richard Rout and Cllr Patrick Chung unveiling the new mural at the Southgate Community Centre. Picture: Andy Abbott.

“Children walk past it every day and it’s got the local community talking.

“And it’s only the first phase.”

The completed mural, created by artists Bella Reynolds and Lauren Bonner, is the first in a four-part ‘Environment and Wildlife initiative’ led by the community centre.

The idea for the community centre rejuvenation project came about after a conversation between centre members and Cllr Richard Rout two years ago. Picture: Andy Abbott.
The idea for the community centre rejuvenation project came about after a conversation between centre members and Cllr Richard Rout two years ago. Picture: Andy Abbott.

It is a joint collaboration with Greener Growth, a community interest company that takes neglected areas and makes them food-producing and biodiversity-enhancing.

The four-stage project, which was originally conceived around two years ago and will cost £15,000 in total, will also see a stone table, wildlife haven, stone garden area, and sanctuary garden all put in place.

Once the project is complete, Greener Growth will continue working with residents to maintain and develop the spaces.

Andy said it was hoped the initiative would have a ‘lasting effect and impact on the area for the benefit of the community and local residents’.


Greener Growth project needs help from residents to create 'green corridor' in Bury St Edmunds

By Kevin Hurst Bury Free Press

A call for Bury St Edmunds residents to put their favourite town green spaces on the map – literally – has been made by a Suffolk environmental community interest company.

Greener Growth’s Bury Green Spaces project wants people to fill out a questionnaire to help to create a ‘green corridor’ throughout the town for the benefit of wildlife and residents’ suggestions for the map could also grow future project ideas.

Jo Metcalfe, founder of Greener Growth, said: “We all know outdoor activities have become more important over the last year or so but for us they have always been important because of the impact on health, wellbeing and biodiversity as a whole.

Andy Abbott (Chairman of Southgate Community Partnership), Craig Lee (Project Manager/Director for Greener Growth), Jo Metcalfe (Greener Growth founder), Cllr Pete Thompson and Cllr Richard Rout - outside Southgate Community Centre, one of the areas set to be transformed.Picture by Mecha Morton.

“People that live in this town know their area best, so we need their input on how green spaces near them should be managed or looked at a little differently to help wildlife thrive there.”

The organisation has worked on various projects across the town over the years and when this new idea was presented to the town council most councillors were in support of it, including chairman and mayor, Peter Thompson.

He said: “The important thing for me in this project is that it is community-driven. I love that this will be engaging with people to show what they have found.

“On my ward, Moreton Hall, I have seen people discovering places on their daily walks that they did not know existed before, so I am hoping Jo’s project will bring greater awareness like this and benefit residents’ lives and their mental wellbeing for the better.”

Jo also hopes the project will allow for collaborations with the likes of Bury in Bloom and Grow Bury St Edmunds Community Garden to make the map fully inclusive of all the good work which is being done in the town.

She said: “We want everybody, town councillors, community groups and residents to join forces on this for the benefit of the town.


Maintenance Day At Howards Estate

Maintenance Day At Howards Estate

A few snaps from last May of Muddy Jo and Filthy Fi -- Oops! Flowery Fi -- taking care of the trees at Howards Estate Memorial Orchard.

Work starts at Jankyns Place

Works starts at Jankyns Place

We've started our third social housing project at Jankyns Place, in Bury St. Edmunds.

It's taken us a while to develop this project alongside Julian Support who provide support and care community for the residents. They have been incredibly helpful to work with and supported us as well as the residents in our objective for this work.

This project has been made possible through Metropolitan Thames Valley which provides provides housing at different levels of affordability for people living in London, the South East, East Midlands and East of England.

We are delighted that Metropolitan is funding the whole project for the next year, enabling us to continue working alongside Julian Support to provide our services.

Principlally a sheltered courtyard garden, we have begun work to transform Jankyns Place into a food-producing and conservation space which will include rasied beds, seating areas, bird boxes, bat boxes, insect hotels and food preparation/eating areas.

Thanks again to Metropolitan Thames Valley, Julian Support and all at Jankyns Place.

Paul working his magic up a ladder ... Again.

Jo Metcalfe, of Greener Growth, in praise of our local councillors

Jo Metcalfe, of Greener Growth, in praise of our local councillors

Bury Free Press

(Above) Howard Heritage Memorial Orchard

So this is the week, when we are all voting for our local councillors – those of us that feel so inclined – you might think we would have little to do with politics being an education, conservation and therapeutic horticulture organisation. However, over the last five years we have had an increasing involvement with our local councillors, particularly those in and around Bury St Edmunds.

I must say, in common with many I guess, previous to this I’d never had much regard or paid much attention to this strata of local politics.

Time spent developing local school and community kitchen and wildlife gardens has really changed all that – as many of our local councillors have been involved. I am happy to report myself and the Greener Growth Team count ourselves lucky to know so many we hold in high regard.

We have developed relationships with town, borough and county councillors and, contrary to popular belief, they are a dedicated, committed and caring bunch, often performing a pretty thankless task.

They are the first ‘port of call’ when any of us need help, or something done in our area, whether it be sorting out a pothole, helping their local school, putting a new bin in – or discussing contributory funding for a community kitchen and wildlife garden or the siting of a heritage orchard.

Local councillors know their patch so well, and many of the people in it. They will help direct us if there’s a ‘Green Job’ that needs covering – and often help support the funding of this project through their Locality Budget. For us, that has included a huge range of projects in and around Bury, with a varied range of benefits and impact for the residents in that area and the wildlife we are trying to protect and extend. Examples are far ranging – such as Diane Hind drawing our attention to the wildlife pond that needed renovating at Tollgate Primary School, or the under-utilised area in Horringer Court that we’ve been working with thanks to Richard Rout and the Horringer Court Residents Association. Then there’s Paul Hopfensperger, who introduced us to the Howard Primary School, and the wonderful Ernie Broom and the HEART (Howards Estate Association of Residents and Tenants) team where there is now a heritage orchard (thanks to funds from local funeral business Fulchers) and a conservation and education project in St Olaves woodland.

David Nettleton has helped us begin to grow a kitchen garden on his ward and Robert Everitt has helped our project at Westley School, the list is quite endless. There are many more to name – including Patrick Chung and Anne Williamson helping our work at Riverwalk School – and so many more!

Often our councillors are the first ‘go to’ person when people in their ward are distressed or angry about something – even if it’s outside their jurisdiction or responsibility. We have learnt a great deal from this tenacious bunch – who care deeply about the ward they represent – and the people in it – and are always now our first point of contact when we are asked to help a school or community group with their green space.

This month we are putting together a ‘Diary Of Events’ for small courses at various different sites around Bury, including Horringer Court, The River Linnet, St Olaves Woodland, Jankyns Place (funded by Metropolitan) and various other areas around our increasingly green town. These courses will be centred around food growing, conservation and we hope will help generate more community spirit too.

We will be promoting them in the Bury Free Press over the next few weeks, and we hope you can come along to learn and grow along side our Greener Growth Teams.

You can be sure that your councillors will have had a hand in helping bring these plans to fruition, and will be attending some of the courses alongside those they represent. We take our gardening hats off to you all, and wish you well, with heartfelt thanks for all you do, often quietly in the background, we salute you! Thanks for all your help, knowledge and support over this past year.

Wrongs Covert - Building the Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden

Wrongs Covert - Building the Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden

A big thank you to volunteers Bryn, Huw, Robin, Matt and Jo for making such a difference to the work carried out at Wrongs Covert Woodland Restoration Project on Saturday, Jan. 31st.

Last time we were here a variety of orchard trees were planted and its seems, are still doing very well. This time, with Kathy Harris, owner and guardian of the Wrongs there to greet us, we got to work putting together some hefty planters for the community kitchen & wildlife garden.

It was a bitterly cold day and the only way to really keep warm was to keep active! Which means a lot of work was completed. With Robin's super-strong coffee, Jo's tasty home-baked cookies and Kathy's leek & potato soup, we were all suitably fuelled throughout the day. Huw's wife Jo was also eight months pregant but still managed to help out where she could! Impressive!

Then there was Matt who was a human dynamo. As GG co-director Sam Hardy mentions:

"Matt was a great asset, and had really great knowledge on the veggie beds as he has his own burgeoning market garden and tree nursery! I think the award for effort goes to him for cycling an hour in sub-zero temperatures to attend!!"

Volunteer Matt Richards after his bike ride to Wrongs

Thanks go to project manager Craig Lee for driving three hours in poor conditions; having all the right tools in the right place and for fixing the “goose gate” in double quick time.

Everyone put a great shift in today to make some magic happen for Kathy and all her future visitors!"

Below are a selection of photos all of which will eventually be found on the Wrongs Covert website along with a whole lot more. Thanks again to everyone who turned up to help.

A very cold day at the Wrongs kitchen garden before planters are cut and laid. From left: Robin, Jo, Matt, Bryn, Huw, Sam and Craig.
Wood arrives for making planters. They were pretty heavy!
The planters have to be cut to size...
A combination of mitre saw and chain saw to finish off!
Then they have to be measured, placed, screwed together and filled with compost and soil.
Almost all in place. Now they just need screwing and filling with soil and compost
Soil left over from the work carried out on other areas of Wrongs was then "sieved" through a bit of metal mesh to get rid of large stones (nice idea Matt). The soil was then barrowed over to the planters. This was re-using resources on site in keeping with permaculture principles.
All done for the day!
Working at Wrongs Covert wouldn't be complete without visiting "Robert"....

Our work at Moor's Farm

Our work at Moor's Farm

The Greener Growth project at Moor's farm has just started. It will be a long-term project creating various different community provisions.

We look forward to involving local schools both from the immediate villages and school trips from our wider school-partnerships in the region.

We have begun to establish specialist conservation projects and teaching amenities which will include green classrooms made out of green willow, community kitchen and wildlife gardens and different picnic areas as well as farm animal and wildlife interaction programmes.

We are just starting the fund-raising for this work so please donate whatever you can.

This little guy is ready to get stuck in!
Have tree...Will plant...
Where'd they go?

Howard Memorial Orchard - Phase 2

Photo: Bury Free Press

Howard Memorial Orchard - Phase 2

On a very rainy 1st of December last Saturday, the Greener Growth team  and community members gathered at the Howard Estate Memorial Orchard, in Bury St. Edmunds, for phase 2. Suffolk County Councillor Paul Hopfensperger and community leader Ernie Broom attended once again to lend their support. Pastor Benjamin Wontrop kindly blessed the trees as more plaques were introduced in memory of loved ones who had passed on.

It was a moving day and a very successful one - despite the weather!

For phase 1 see:  Memorial Orchard Project to set down roots

More photos at see: Howard Estate Assoc of Residents and Tenants

Horringer Court Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden

Horringer Court Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden

A great day was had at Horringer Court implementing the next phase of their Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden funded by Suffolk County Councillor Richard Rout.

Sam, Fi, Craig, Paul and Jono set about filling the planters with a rich, steamy compost (check out that wheel-barrow below...OOOO-arrrrrr) followed by top-soil.

Various bulbs and herbs were planted thereafter (about 250 in all!)

Craig and Paul also laid some turf and put up about eight or nine bat and bird boxes.

This is Horringer Court, soon to be Community Kitchen & Wildlife Garden...

Paul: "Just look at my shovel action"

Craig: "Check out my turf baby."

Sam: I know, I know, I like treading compost - everyone has their little foibles."

Craig: "Me? Why do I always have to be the one hanging from the tree?"
Paul: "Look, there's a lovely hazel over there - just your size".

Craig: "Are you listening to me?
Paul: "Think of all those little furry bats you're going to help...Bless

Paul: "Heh."

Look at the steam rising...Some good quality compost. New life cometh!

Community unites to plant memorial orchard

Community Unites to Plant Memorial Orchard

Bury Free Press

Residents of the Howard Estate, in Bury St Edmunds, came together last week for the planting of 40 fruit trees in the Howard Memorial Orchard. The project, which saw families adopt a tree in memory of a loved one, was led by community interest company Greener Growth in partnership with the Howard Estate Residents and Tenants Association, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and Fulchers Funeral Directors. Around 150 people attended the planting on Thursday, April 19, and Saturday, April 21. Joannah Metcalfe, founder of Greener Growth, said: “It went incredibly well. All members of the community, all of different ages and backgrounds, came together. This is why we’re doing it in the first place. It was great to see.”