Last weekend saw a very special community event held on a patch of land next to Claines Parish Hall. The ‘party at the patch’ was the official opening of a community garden which has been established thanks to fundraising by the Little Friends playgroup, Claines church and a contribution from the Kingdom People fund.

Party at the patch in ClainesThe land belonged to the church and for many years was rented out as an allotment. When the gentleman who tended the site had to give it up, it became very overgrown, but the playgroup saw the potential and have fundraised to turn it into a useable garden space.

The garden was opened by Councillor Andy Stafford, who has given £600 so that a willow walk can be developed. He said: “We don’t have many community spaces in the area and this is a fantastic project which I was pleased to support. It has the potential to be used by a range of people and will definitely add to the functionality of the parish hall.”

Stall at Claines community gardenJennifer Chaw runs the Little Friends playgroup who suggested the garden and raised most of the money. She said: “We could see that the patch would be an ideal outdoor space so fundraised over a number of years to transform it. We’ve already held sessions outside and it’s a great resource, not only for us, but for the whole community. The opening today is the culmination of a lot of work by lots of different people – we’ve had so much support for the project and holding a party is a nice way for everyone to come out and see what we’ve done.”

At the opening, the Revd Paula Honniball blessed the new space and guests were able to sit on a bench which had been donated by Claines Mothers’ Union. There were lots of stalls and games, an opportunity to make prayer flags and enjoy a BBQ.

MU bench at Claines community gardenPaula said: “It’s just brilliant to see everyone here this afternoon. The hall is becoming a real community space – as well as the toddler group, we have a community café regularly so they’ll also benefit. The garden was really overgrown when I first came and it’s been turned into a beautiful space which lifts people’s spirits. It is a useful and useable space and will also be a place of quiet refection.”

See more photos from the afternoon.