Community garden idea planted in Wem two years ago finally blooms

Tenants at an independent living scheme in Wem are bloomin' chuffed now they can - at last - enjoy a brand new community garden.

Opening of new developed Westlands Community Gardens in Wem. In Picture: Outgoing Mayor Cllr Peter Broomhall, Connexus, Residents etc..
Opening of new developed Westlands Community Gardens in Wem. In Picture: Outgoing Mayor Cllr Peter Broomhall, Connexus, Residents etc..

The idea to transform a stone boules court at the Westlands scheme was planted before the covid pandemic and on Wednesday it was finally declared open in traditional ribbon-cutting style.

Outgoing Wem mayor Councillor Peter Broomhall joined senior managers, tenants at Westlands and even the boss of Connexus Homes, Richard Woolley, to mark the occasion.

A patriotic ribbon was cut by Mr Broomhall and a plaque bearing his name records the auspicious moment for posterity.

"Two years ago tenants said they wanted to change the boules court to make it more user friendly," said Mrs Sharon Heath, the independent living co-ordinator at the 36-property scheme.

"They can now enjoy the area and relax there. It has been a long time coming because of covid but we have stuck at it. It is a place where you can sit and reflect, and have a catch up. It is beneficial to everybody."

The scheme has a very lively community of 42 tenants including Mary Russell and Lynne Forrester who wrote to Wem Town Council for help. The council chipped in £500.

Wem Rotary Club donated a shed, and contractors Evans Construction changed the surface to concrete and built raised flower beds on behalf of Connexus.

Tenants through their own bingo and coffee morning fundraising efforts have £1,300 in the pot, and some of this was also earmarked for the development which was completed at the start of May. It measures about half the length of a football pitch, but is not as wide.

"The tenants are brilliant," said Mrs Heath. "They are very active... and we have a waiting list for people to get onto Westlands."

Next on their agenda is a jubilee street party next Wednesday, where red, white and blue ribbon is sure to come in useful once more.

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