Pocket Parks Bid
GOOD NEWS THRICE OVER FOR ST JAMES!
Three Awards will see significant improvements THIS SPRING in Queen's Crescent Garden.
Exeter St James Forum is delighted to be able to announce that an application by Exeter St James Community Trust Ltd for a grant from Department of Communities and Local Government's (DCLG's) Pocket Park Programme has been successful! £13000 has been awarded for immediate use. It has been hard to sit on this news while waiting to be given the go ahead by DCLG to publicise the Pocket Park award, not least because we know how much the community, including ourselves, has been longing to see some tangible progress with the project.
At last the green light has appeared and we wanted you, our members, to be the first to know! DCLG's deadline for the work is the end of March and so we have had to make a start before we could make this announcement. Over the coming weeks passers-by will witness removal of vegetation from the perimeter that has provided cover for rough sleeping, fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour, removal of the old stumps and roots, and the accumulation of rubble at the western corner. Any old bricks and coping stones that are found during this process will be retained for the other focus of work – the restoration and re-pointing of as much of the perimeter wall as funding will allow.
And this is where we are thrilled to announce the second piece of good news! Thanks to our local county councillor, Cllr. Jill Owen, a matchfunding award of £5000 from DCC Locality Budget will be used to boost the DCLG award, ensuring a bigger impact will be achieved, with much greater length of the walls receiving attention. Further matchfunding will be sought to complete the work.
We would like to reassure you all that the section of border planted up with daffodil bulbs last autumn by the children of St Sidwell's C of E Primary School, following cultivation by volunteers including Exeter Round Table, University of Exeter Environmental Science Student Volunteers and local residents, will be left undisturbed to flower in a few weeks time.
Those who have been following the Project since its inception in 2013 will know that having achieved the major steps of setting up the Trust to take on the lease from the City Council (ECC), working with LDA Design in consultation with the community to produce our Masterplan for the regeneration and obtaining planning consent for Change of Use from private to public open space, we have all had to be patient while ECC continues to pursue the compulsory acquisition of the land from an unknown owner.
Until the Trust holds the lease bidding for the major funding required for the planned phased stages of the Masterplan is not possible, so the DCLG Pocket Parks Programme presented a welcome opportunity to apply for what in the grand scheme is a relatively small, but immensely useful sum, with the City Council as fundholding partner. We are grateful to the Council for agreeing to take this on, and particularly to ECC officer Chris Westlake, (Placemaking including Capital Projects and Landscaping) whose support and advice is much appreciated.
Where can YOU help?
There are likely to be some tasks, such as gathering up old bricks and coping stones from buried rubble within the garden, and cleaning these off in readiness for re-use, as well as fund raising – helping to organise a table-top sale, preparing donations of plants for a future plant sale in the garden, a coffee morning with a few neighbours, or whatever you would like to suggest – and helping to organise a fitting celebratory Garden Party when this phase of the work is complete and the weather warmer. Please let us know here (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are willing to help in any way.
Now the THIRD award! As a result of the Community Matters Scheme where customers at John Lewis were invited to place a green token each time they shopped in the store for 3 months last year, Robyn Connett was invited to receive a cheque for £375 on behalf of Queen's Crescent Garden Project Group!
This money will be used towards the purchase of a noticeboard that will provide information in the garden related to the project and which should be erected in the next few weeks. Many thanks to John Lewis and their customers!
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