The opening of Mayfield marked the start of a project to create a community garden on the site, overseen by the Green Health Alliance.
The Green Health Alliance (GHA) comprises five community growing organisations working across Greater Manchester, connecting people and places to nature and improving health and mental wellbeing outcomes for all.
They are: Growing in the City/Men’s Shed Project, Hulme Community Garden Centre, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group’s Real Food Wythenshawe, Debdale Eco Centre and the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.
All are inclusive, not-for profit organisations with a shared passion for sustainability and inclusivity. At Mayfield their trained community horticulturalists and garden designers work in partnership with community volunteers; including young people’s groups, people with mental health issues, groups with learning and physical disabilities, and those who are socially isolated.
The Green Health Alliance will bring their unique expertise to Mayfield; from building with waste materials to exploring future farming techniques. The garden space will be a demonstration site for urban growing and will be regularly tended to by project members who will be happy to chat to anyone wanting to join in.
Kath Whittaker from FCFCG said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting and inspiring project and we hope that people from all over Manchester will want to be a part of it too.
“Mayfield is an ambitious and important project for our city and we can’t wait to play a part in its revival. It will be a wonderful opportunity for our volunteers to deploy the skills they have learned in our community gardens in such an important city centre location and I am sure it will make them very proud.”
She said GHA would let the community garden “evolve naturally”, but there are plans in the pipeline to encourage local people to get involved by means of gardening demonstrations and food growing sessions.
“We want to inspire and also demonstrate our passion for re-using the materials on the site – we don’t want anything to be chucked away – we’ll find a use for everything, from old tyres, shopping trollies, cobblestones or industrial equipment.”
The GHA include:
Growing in the City/Mens Shed
Growing in the City/Men’s Shed is a local community project for men of all ages based in Openshaw, Manchester.
It is a place for men to: learn new skills; meet new people; refurbish old furniture; volunteer for your community; do your own project; relax and have fun; share knowledge; grow and eat their own food; renew old skills or just hang out and talk.
Hulme Garden Centre
Hulme Garden Centre is a not-for-profit, community-led organisation and charity (XR39212), created by local residents in 1999 with a shared vision of greening and regenerating Hulme and its surrounding area. The garden centre is open to the public seven days a week and is the focal point of the facility, which also includes a shop and public gardens. Staffed by volunteers, the project also works with people who have learning or mental health difficulties who enjoy the benefits of getting involved with plants and nature.
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group’s Real Food Wythenshawe
Real Food Wythenshawe is an ambitious five-year programme to engage and excite the people of Wythenshawe in growing and cooking fresh sustainable food. It’s an ambitious project that aims to reach people across the whole community, supporting them all to lead healthier, lower carbon lifestyles through the food they grow, cook and eat. It’s all been made possible thanks to a grant of £1m from the BIG Lottery Fund.
The project aims to make Wythenshawe an exemplar for how food projects in the 21st Century should be. It is focused on three key areas – cooking, growing and learning.
Debdale Eco Centre
Based in Debdale Park in East Manchester and overlooking Gorton Reservoir, Debdale Eco Centre is focused on vegan organic gardening. The group runs a range of courses, ranging from sessions for individuals interested in organic gardening to training programmes aimed at primary schools.
Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
From tiny community gardens to sprawling city farms, FCFCG helps grass roots groups create genuine benefits for their community. Since 1980 FCFCG have worked with community farms and gardens, school farms, care farms, wildlife and roof gardens, community orchards, community-run allotments and community supported agriculture schemes.