Newcastle’s first Community Peace Garden takes shape
Work has started to create Newcastle's first community peace garden on land surrounding the parish church of the Holy Nativity, Chapel House in the outer west of the city.
A response to the Newcastle City for Peace initiative, the gardens will be a haven for birds, bees, butterflies and mini-beasts as well as human visitors, and will include safe spaces for use in conjunction with the church's work with young children and also with carers and people who live with dementia.
The vision of local people including many children, the gardens are due to be complete in time for a Diamond Jubilee Garden Party attended by the Bishop of Newcastle and other prominent local figures.
Ideas and sketches for the garden layout have been collected from Newcastle Council of Faiths, from local community groups and also children from neighbouring primary schools. The Project Advisory Group, which has developed the ideas, includes representatives from a number of community organisations and has benefitted greatly from years of active support and encouragement from one of the local ward councillors, Marc Donnelly.
Creation of the gardens is funded by SITA (www.sitatrust.org.uk) and by the Ballinger Charitable Trust (www.ballingercharitabletrust.org.uk), with the work carried out by Newcastle City Council. SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.
“Newcastle Council of Faiths is delighted to be linked with this project,” said Dr Hari Shukla, local resident and former Director of Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council. “The gardens will help spread the idea of peace across the city and beyond. Local people, both adults and children, have worked together to bring the gardens to life and we look forward to having an attractive peaceful place where visitors can meet friends, or simply spend a quiet moment in their busy day.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust added, “As a funder that has been supporting community projects for 15 years, we’re well aware of the real difference that green space improvements can make to a community. We hope that the new garden will be enjoyed by the people of Newcastle for years to come.”
The word ‘PEACE’ will be seen in many different languages and scripts around the garden: words brought by participants from many faith and cultural backgrounds to the Inter-Faith Week event at Holy Nativity Church in November 2011.
Early visitors will also see some wild daffodils making their first tentative appearance in the area – planted by children in Knop Law School enviro-club.
- Photo: Newcastle City Council gardeners with the architect marking out the pathways
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