Elected Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll, Shieldfield Art Works’ staff, volunteers and residents unveiled the transformation of the former green space transformed into a flourishing community garden – with new trees, planting areas, and communal spaces for local people and visitors to enjoy.
The project was funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), headed by Mayor Driscoll, and by generous members of the public, who donated via the NTCA’s crowdfunding platform #CrowdfundNorthofTyne. The garden features a wildflower walkway with seating for people to relax and enjoy the beauty around them, raised planting beds for growing fruit and veg, and a small herb garden.
Shieldfield Art Works’ Community Garden has officially opened to the community. The busy opening event had crafts and activities for children and live music, as well as a community meal – with dishes made by local residents and produce grown in the garden. Local resident and volunteer Helen said: “Being involved in the local things is very important. The community garden is great for people who do not have outdoor space or gardens.”
Local resident Ken, who supports community gardening in her role as Dwellbeing Shieldfield’s ‘Community Bee’ said “We supply seeds and tools and knowledge. While we work together, we grow friendships together”.
Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Lockdown taught us to treasure communal green spaces and gardens. They boost our mental health. They provide habitats for birds, bees, and wildlife. They improve the very air we breathe. It was great to join in the celebrations with Shieldfield Art Works and to see how NTCA funding has helped to create this green haven in the city.”
Shieldfield Art Works Director Lydia Hiorns said: “We’re really excited to formally launch and celebrate our community garden with friends and supporters from Shieldfield all gathered together. The design and build of the garden has been shaped around what people in the local area said was important to them, including space to grow food as well as seating areas for eating together, or space to just be and reflect. We are grateful for the funds from NTCA as well as many individual supporters that have made it possible to transform this patch of grass into a community resource. We are confident the garden will be well used and cherished by the community, as SAW also looks to continue our broad range of work at a time when securing funding is challenging.”