Slough Borough Council, in partnership with West Cippenham Tenants and Residents Association (WCTRA), has won a £15,000 grant from central government to transform a currently disused area of ground beside the popular library in Cippenham.
Ground is due to be broken this summer and plans involve creating a tranquil space suitable for rest and relaxation and small-scale gardening (including vegetable growing). The site is currently laid to lawn but when the project is completed it will feature a wheelchair-accessible path, weather resistant benches, raised beds for flowers and vegetables, and cover provided by several trees.
A project with Slough social care has provided the opportunity for people with mental health, learning and physical disabilities to tend and maintain the site. The project will also target people with mental health concerns, offering an opportunity to benefit from the documented therapeutic benefits of gardening.
WCTRA is working with Slough Borough Council to enable the gardening management of the site. This will be undertaken by Slough Adult Social Care (SASC) volunteers on a weekly basis, under the guidance of a supervisor and alongside the existing ground maintenance of the library site by council contractors. The SASC group will comprise of adults with physical and learning disabilities. Fruit and vegetables will also be grown as an opportunity to reward the efforts of the volunteers.
Cllr Rob Anderson, cabinet member for environment and leisure said “We are so happy to have won this grant which will provide parents and carers somewhere safe and quiet for them to wait prior to collecting their children from the village school next door.
“As the library is in the very centre of the village, this provides the perfect place for elderly people who are visiting the shops or library to relax and chat with neighbours and friends.”
The site will feature a number of planters and raised beds supporting a wide variety of plants. Since the site is intended to be a haven for wellbeing, the emphasis will be to grow a wide range of plants in order to have vibrant colours for as much of the year as possible. A minimum of two curved benches will be installed, and trees shall be planted to provide shade and cover and also the opportunity for further organic produce.
Support for the transformation of the site has been received from members of the WCTRA, library user groups including the mothers and child minders group, local residents (including those neighbouring the site) and Cippenham Carers Group. The library’s mothers and child minders group stated this would be an excellent space to enjoy, especially with younger children, before collecting their children from the school beside the library. Work is expected to be completed by the end of September.