Ashton community garden will officially open this weekend

For the past two years, a patch of land around a church in Ashton has been transformed and revamped into a welcoming space which the local community can use and enjoy.

St Gabriel's Community Garden, located on the corner of Beaumont Street, will officially open this Sunday, July 7, with food, drinks and entertainment. The event will run from 11:30am until 3pm and will feature the talent of Willow Wood Hospice Choir, Dobcross Youth Band, Baker School of Dance, Sounds Familiar and the Intergenerational Choir and Music Group.

Sandra Kiy and Mandy Hayes have managed the garden since 2022 and the majority of the work has been done by them. They said it began as a mere idea to develop some unused land however the vision developed as time went on.

Around £24,000 has been raised since the project began, funded by various opportunities, and Greater Manchester Green Spaces Fund provided the volunteers with £15,000 which enabled the patio to be redone.

Sandra said: "We want to thank everybody that's donated, supported and helped us, been kind to us and given us the funds to be able to do this."

There have been lots of "gardening days" organised for other members of the community to help the pair and they have received multiple grants to help out with the financial side of things. Tameside College's carpentry students also built a bespoke shed for the space.

Connections have already been made with the local primary school who now visit each Tuesday and can explore the sensory garden, memory garden or grow their own vegetables. There is also a group for elderly people to attend on a Monday and a food pantry located inside the church.

"We've had many obstacles in our way over the past two years," Sandra added.

"We discovered a sewer running under the church part-way through work being done on the garden and it took United Utilities five months to work out where it was actually coming from but they were absolutely incredible and so helpful.

"We also had a little mishap last week as someone stole a garden chair but we had a lovely response from that and one man even came to put new boults and chains on the wall for us. It's amazing how much good can come from one little bad thing, it really proves there are lots of very good people in this world."



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