The hope garden project update by Stephen Bromley

Design of the Hope Garden
The area were the hope garden was before started to be built
Update from the 3rd of October 2019.
The past couple of months have seen the ‘sensory’ Hope Garden move forward at a relatively swift pace.
We have gone from having an area that was totally overgrown by all manner of bushes and trees and thus unusable to a small building site.
Update from the 3rd of October 2019.
So far we have cleared a huge amount of foliage, bushes, shrubs and trees. We had a conduit laid to allow electricity to be run to the garden, had groundwork done to remove the top layer of soil and lay and compact a hard-core subsurface, had a foundation laid to provide a solid based for the raised bed.  And the raised bed is a work in progress, being about 2/3 complete. Your prayers would be appreciated that the weather continues to give us a break so we can finish the build of the raised bed.
We are hugely thankful and greatly indebted to a number of people who have and are supporting this project by giving of their time, money and or expertise, including: Tony Burke and Paul Cooper, Ian Coll and his team at Coll Civil Engineering, to Frank Scoble, Chris Ward and all the parishioners.  All their time and materials have been donated to this project at no cost.

Since the last update, progress on the Hope Garden has been steady.  It is evolving nicely from being overgrown to becoming a welcoming place for many different sections of our Parish and community.

Chris, assisted by Paul and Stephen has built the raised planting bed in between the rain!  Ironically, since it was finished we’ve enjoyed our longest dry (or dryish) spell for well over a month. Typical!  The walls are done and a wooden ‘sleeper’ style top will complete this phase of construction.

The height of the bed may seem a little low, but this is intentional.  With the sleeper top it is designed and intended to be a ‘perching’ seat which we hope will encourage the Garden’s users to get hands-on with planting and tending; we don’t want the garden to be ornamental and will encourage as many people as want to – young and young at heart – to get their hands dirty.

On either side of the tree we will have ‘bottle top mosaics’.  In recent months we asked parishioners to save bottle tops for this purpose.  Thousands were donated; thank you to everyone who brought them in.  We have a fantastic range of colours and sizes which is great, as this should give us a lot of scope to create.

Paul has done a design for the main mosaic which will carry the ‘Hope’ theme and the implied and explicit messages about our hopes for the planet, environmental sustainability and our need to protect it for future generations, and the hopes we have for our faith expressed through the messages from Pope Francis, Bishop John and the diocese’s Hope in the Future initiative.

In addition to the main mosaic, the children will also be creating their own, smaller mosaics, which will also be displayed prominently in the garden.

As a start point for this Susan Spencer-Kuhanga and Celia Eccleston spent a chilly afternoon with some of the children in Susan’s youth group washing the bottle tops and colour sorting them so we know exactly what we have to work with.  They are not finished yet (we literally have thousands to do!), but this is an absolutely super start and as well as the cleaning having a very practical purpose it also reinforces the environmental message about how much single-use plastic we encounter on a daily basis: Reduce – Re-use – Recycle.

Update 8th of November 2019.

A great couple of days in the garden. Ian’s guys were stymied somewhat by yesterday’s rain, but they literally laid the groundwork for today.

Headlines are that the Edgings are in, they’ve put more stone hardcore in to raise the level and have rerouted the duct for the electricity to a better spot.

I think they have more stones to put down, but for all intents and purposes, the next stage is tarmac.

I’m really impressed with how much they’ve got done. And it’s a “proper” job; the edgings are well concreted in.

I needed to be away by 3:15 as we do the in-laws tea on a Friday and the guys were still there when I left.

They’re a great bunch and we’re really blessed to have been sent them. Thank you Julie for putting us in contact.

And in other news, I’ve cracked on with colour sorting bottle tops, of which we have *lots*, but there’s s little light at the end of the tunnel. Who’s idea was bottle top mosaics?!?!

So things are progressing well and have taken a significant step forward today.