The Association initially approached Sunderland City Council to seek permission for such a development. This was granted in 2011.
The next stage was to define what should be included within the garden space and to find partners to collaborate with. The Association were aware that Groundwork NE (now ‘& Cumbria’) had created a number of these gardens across the city so approached them.
Total costs were estimated at £36,000. This included, clearance of the space, design costs, excavation of pond and creation of paths, benches, viewing platforms, raised beds, planting, provision of storage container and development work in local schools and the community. Successful grant application were made to:
Total Costs of the project
The construction of Wild Patch commenced in November 2012 and was finished in March 2013 with a further nine months spent on development work.
How Wild Patch took shape
From this 10 people expressed initial interest at the open day. Of these only two committed to the project. Some were after a full sized plot, others decided it was too much work and the remainder said other priorities took preference.Two organizations became involved, the Link School, Tudor Grove years 8 and 9 and Wearside Stroke Group. The latter has three to four members regularly in attendance. Red Machine plot holders have been seen by the volunteers as a valuable source of advice on cultivation and growing issues. In addition, plot holders have been involved supplying seeds, growing tips and their time to help with maintaining the garden.
The initial work has begun
Paths, Raised beds and Timber edging installed
The finished project
Groundwork feedback to the Community Foundation
The project has been a success as we have already seen evidence of the pond becoming a habitat with sightings of frogspawn. We have recruited eight regular volunteers to the site with two more due to start. This has been through a combination of an open day, house to house flyers in the surrounding estates, from the Allotment Association waiting list and the local volunteer centre. The volunteers have been supported by four volunteer sessions with another six to take place over the next three months followed by monthly drop ins until the end of the year. In addition, over 150 children have been involved in the project through nine school based climate change and tree planting sessions. We are well supported by the Allotment Association who continue to help and volunteer at the garden helping make the volunteers feel part of the site. The project has also managed to attract further funding from the Council’s Community Chest Scheme which will buy a storage container and tools for the volunteers.