Councillor Mark Tittley, Simon and Shobian from Wilmorton Community Garden Project, Children from Lakeside Primary School and Alan Charles
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles visited a community garden project which has helped young people to gain horticultural and bricklaying qualifications.
Commissioner Charles provided a grant of £19,500 to Wilmorton Residents’ Association as part of his 2015-16 NICE (Neighbourhoods Investing Criminal Earnings) Fund to transform local waste ground into a community garden to be enjoyed by residents and to help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.
Commissioner Charles visited the project to find out how the funding has been spent and to present a commemorative plaque.
After his visit, he said: “I am really happy to support this fantastic community project with money taken from Derbyshire criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. I saw first-hand how local people have come together to turn some derelict land into allotments and quality recreation spaces. Alongside my own grant, the work has been supported by Derby Homes apprentices, Toyota apprentices, YMCA, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Lakeside Primary School.
“My grant has been used to pay for security fencing around the community park and I was pleased to present the group with a plaque to show my support. It’s a great project and I would like to say ‘well done’ to everyone involved.”
The NICE fund, which has been distributed in grants of up to £40,000, is a proportion of the income confiscated from criminals in Derbyshire under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This legislation provides police officers with the powers to seize cash and recover the valuable assets that have been bought by criminals through their illegal profits including property, cars and jewellery.
The Association carried out a survey in the area to find out exactly what local people wanted from the spare ground and discovered 100% of people were in favour of a secure community garden. Additionally, 78% of residents surveyed said they felt there were high levels of antisocial behaviour in the area.
Top of the wish list was a family picnic area incorporated with tables, benches, raised beds, barbecues and a tree house, a natural wildlife pond area, a memorial garden designed by young people and a refurbished wooden train.
The project has brought the community together with local people volunteering on the refurbishment and supplying tables and chairs to provide a social hub for children to meet and access resources, quizzes and worksheets. There are also plans for a community orchard with the planting of 40 donated fruit trees.
Mr Charles added: “The development of this project has involved working with young people from the YMCA, equipping them with life and practical skills than can be transferred to the workplace which is vitally important for their sense of motivation and self-esteem. The completed community garden will also provide an ongoing venue for local people and youngsters to meet socially and donate their time for the benefit of everyone living in the area.”
The secure fencing around the project will help to make people feel safe and will prevent use of the garden for antisocial behaviour or drug use.
A team of about 20 volunteers has been involved throughout the project with the YMCA and Derby College providing additional assistance to build the barbecue areas, pond area and fencing.
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Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2016