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.

Orchard Planting at Tollgate Primary School

Orchard Planting at Tollgate Primary School

With the help of the Lottery funded Orchards East project which has given us 36 wonderful heritage fruit trees we were able to get to work at Tollgate Primary School in December.

Our second project at Tollgate Primary, the children thoroughly enjoyed planting the trees and worked very hard to ensure that this was an orchard to be proud of. Indeed, they showed exceptional committment - as did the staff!

Tollgate Primary remains one of our most committed schools in the area and it is a pleasure to help grow food and conserve wildlife on these gorgeous grounds and with such a supportive group of teachers.

Our next project - number 3 on this site - will involve renovating the wildlife pond and putting in hedgehog boxes. Stay tuned!

Meantime, we'll leave you with some photos of the children's activities from December.

Greener Growth worker Fiona Till and Tollgate kids
These guys mean business!
Budding gardeners in the making...These trees are going to have a great start!
tree support posts to the fore!
These guys and gals make a great team!
And lift!

Have a look at our first project at: Tollgate Primary School

Help us to help schools and prisons grow food, learn new skills and conserve nature!

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!

Muddy Jo and the quest to save the world!

Muddy Jo and the quest to save the world!

By Steve Russell | East Anglian Times

We all know that being outside, growing fresh fruit and veg and helping nature, is better than being stuck inside, breathing re-circulated air and eating processed food. ‘Greener Growth’ is striving to change the balance − and winning.

I first met Joannah Metcalfe in prison. (That didn’t come out right. Start again.) I first met Joannah Metcalfe in the grounds of an open prison where soon-to-be-released inmates and her organisation Greener Growth were reviving a walled garden. The bountiful borders and plots of flowers and vegetables were firm evidence of the principle of “Recovery Through Nature” – for land and man.

That was the summer of 2014 – the year after Jo started spreading the message about the sense of purpose and achievement gained from growing things and helping wildlife. Today, the figures trip off her tongue.

“Greener Growth has planted over 1,000 Heritage fruit trees since we last met, been involved in the lives of just under 12,000 children, worked with about 2,500 prisoners, put up about 200 birdboxes, 200 batboxes and 30-ish hedgehog boxes.”

Jo definitely doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet. Well, actually, she does – if she can.

Basically, it’s all about people making the world a better place and feeling happier and healthier, in body and soul, through growing food and transforming underused land. Outside spaces are “re-greened” and become great habitats for wildlife.

The focus is on “permaculture” – a chemical-free, self-sustaining, low-impact philosophy – and building a sense of togetherness through shared activity.

Greener Growth is working in three main areas: prisons, schools, and communities.

An example: Wayland jail near Thetford. Work there has turned old buildings and aviary into a potting shed and greenhouse. There are nine large timber-framed raised beds, along with four wildlife ponds, willow boundary fences, arbours, a memorial garden, and more.

Read the full article HERE

Nature project in full flow

Nature project in full flow

By Laura Nolan | Bury Free Press

Photo: Cllr Paul Hopfensperger with Paul Hebditch, Project Manager of Greener Growth, and Sam Hardy, Director of Greener Growth along with a couple of local children. PICTURE: Mecha Morton.

New features are being added to a woodland project on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard Estate including a wildlife and nature conservation area.

The St Olaves Woodland was given funding by Councillor Paul Hopfensperger, using his locality budget.

Greener Growth, a community based group that helps people better themselves by growing food and transforming outdoor spaces, is leading the project which is designed to help combat social isolation.

A nature trail is being developed by using Cllr Hopfensperger’s locality budget.

Phase one of the development includes a nature trail through the woods, allowing people to walk through the more dense areas of the woodland easily.

Phase two of the project, which began on Monday, is designed to allow wildlife to flourish in the St Olaves Woodland area by introducing bird, bat and hedgehog boxes, an insect hotel, rustic benches and a woodchip pathway.

Cllr Hopfensperger said: “Phase three includes a classroom in the woods for children to learn about nature, the children will come from Tollgate and Howard Primary and have lessons in here.”

Greener Growth already does similar projects in surrounding primary schools, including Howard Primary.

Sam Hardy, director at Greener Growth, said: “We’re hoping this will bring the area to life.”

Also involved in the project is Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants.


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.”

Howard Estate Memorial Orchard April 2018

Memorial Orchard Project to set down roots

A brand new orchard for one lucky community was planted last week on 19th and 21st April on the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds. Greener Growth are no strangers to working with community groups to create beautiful shared green space where there was once none. We are delighted to be able to plant a Heritage Orchard at the end of the football pitch on an unused area of land and enhance the landscape in this very urban setting. This is being done to further our conservation work in the town and to extend the opportunity to teach healthy eating in this community by establishing more fresh fruit provision – these trees will provide an extensive range of apples, pears, plums, cherries and greengages once they have matured.”

It was officially opened by the Mayor and the heritage trees were planted with care with residents and local children from Howard & Tollgate Primary schools. Many residents from the Howard Estate came to officially choose their tree and it was great to see so many pitching up to support the community.

We have been working alongside the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART) for some months now and are excited to be behind this innovative design, aimed at commemorating
loved ones who have a connection to the community. HEART chairperson Ernie Broom is delighted at the support shown by our team and said “It is such a lovely idea to incorporate the memorial element into the community planting scheme. This way the local community can not only be involved in creating something for future generations to enjoy, but it also is an opportunity to remember those who
used to live on Howard Estate in years past.”

Big thanks to L. Fulchurs funeral directors for their sponsorship and the Borough advice and local councillors, especially Paul Hopfensperger for his guidance enthusiasm and Rupert Everitt, Tom Murray & Max Clarke for all turning up and helping out, as did so many others.

We so enjoyed meeting you all and we'll be back to help you nurture your nature!

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