Harvest time at groundbreaking Beaulieu community garden

Published Monday 24 October 2011

School children at Beaulieu helped bring in the harvest at a unique community garden helped by funding from the New Forest National Park Authority.

Fairweather’s Garden Centre set up Patrick’s Patch four years ago with 30% of the cost covered by the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

Now the National Park is inviting more people to send in applications to the Fund, which supports projects that encourage greener living.

Garden owner Patrick Fairweather said: ‘We wouldn’t and couldn’t have built the garden to the specification we need to accommodate schoolchildren safely without the funding from the National Park’s SDF. It has also enabled us to afford to employ a part-time gardener to help with the development of the garden.

‘We have regular school visits and at the end of most sessions the children have a picnic and get the opportunity to eat something they have had a part in growing – for some children that is really groundbreaking. For children who come here from central Southampton, it is often the first time they have had the opportunity to do gardening.’

Patrick said the garden also has a loyal band of volunteers who have benefited in different ways – a few with mental health issues who appreciate the therapeutic benefits of gardening, others who come for the physical exercise and many for the social side.

‘We also use the veg in our cafe opposite and the garden is another attraction to bring visitors into Beaulieu village and therefore support other businesses,’ Patrick said.

Vicky Myers, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, encouraged community groups, individuals and businesses to submit applications for their projects.

She said: ‘There’s a real breadth of projects the SDF can support, from renewable energy technologies in a community building to local produce schemes, eco-improvements in a B&B and support for a village shop – anything with environmental, community and economic benefits for the New Forest.

‘Instead of being just a veg patch next door to a garden centre, this fantastic Fairweather’s scheme is about sustainability, the community, green living and education.

‘We would love to hear your ideas.’

The SDF funds up to 75% of a project’s cost and grants can be up to £50,000. The money can be used for practical work – labour costs, equipment and materials, feasibility studies or research projects, education, training, and awareness-raising.

Find out more about the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) call SDF Officer Andy Brennan on 01590 646676.


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Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper
The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Media Contact:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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