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Eccles community garden has new lease of life

A community garden, forest school and café in the heart of Eccles has a new lease of life thanks to electricity and water supplies provided by Liberty.

The Ivy Den Café and Garden Shop at Cleavley Community Forest Garden on Port Salford Greenway in Winton were started as a local community hub through a blend of funding such as the National Lottery, NHS Salford CCG and supported by Salford CVS, in addition to the self-generated income that will ensure the sustainability of the community asset. It was officially opened in July 2022 by Mayor Paul Dennett and MP Barbara Keeley.

Incredible Education specialises in health and wellbeing programmes delivered through horticulture and ‘forest school’ activities, such as making bug hotels using natural materials or creating a new pond.

The community hub in Eccles offers the perfect place for local schoolchildren and volunteers from across Salford to learn new skills and improve their wellbeing. For the same reason, it has become a frequent place for GPs to refer patients in need of relaxing, outdoor activities as part of social prescribing.

Ian Bocock from Incredible Education, who lives locally and is the driving force behind the project, converted a storage container into the Ivy Den Café with it initially running on a generator.

North-West property services company Liberty was introduced to the project by ForHousing and supported with building foundations for the Community Edible Garden & polytunnel, and providing a reliable electricity source to the Ivy Den Cafe.

Liberty’s local team donated materials worth almost £5,000, as well as 90 hours of staff time to dig a trench by hand for electric cables and plumbing, connecting the buildings to the main supply. Additionally, the team fitted sockets and a heating supply while United Utilities ensured water supply to the project.

Overall, Liberty’s help totalled more than £10,000 of work and has created a comfortable and modern café.

The improvements are enabling the café and shop to expand the activities they offer, as Ian Bocock from Incredible Education explains;

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to ForHousing and Liberty for supporting us. Installing essential utilities on our site means we’ll be able to offer so much more here and I’m looking forward to seeing us grow thanks to this help.

“Our next challenge is setting up a multipurpose workshop with ‘living roof’ made from plants to teach people woodwork skills.”

Interim Assistant Regional Director of Liberty, Jason Marston, said:

“Supporting Cleavley Community Forest Garden has been a real privilege. The facilities installed are excellent and it will add lots of benefits to the local people and schools to enjoy and learn more about horticulture.”

Watch Ian Bocock talk about the difference the changes have made to the project on Facebook:

Learn more about the Cleavley Community Forest Garden here: