Planting community seeds for growth

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A Derbyshire licensee is planting himself at the heart of his community with the installation of a community garden in his car park.

Mark Gilliver and his wife Jo have been running the Enterprise Inns’ Coach and Horses in Draycott village outside Derby for the last four-and-a-half years and have thrown themselves into the community project to support Draycott in Bloom and the Draycott village fund.

Along with Mark, volunteers have been clearing brambles and concrete from an old skittle alley in their spare time to create eight large raised beds that will be planted with fruit and vegetables by community groups, including the Scouts, Brownies and Church Children’s Group. One bed is raised slightly higher to make it more accessible for people who can’t reach down to the ground and is accessible by wheelchairs.

The project will be achieved with the advice and support from rural pubs group, Pub is The Hub. They are contributing toward the overall cost of around £8,000 with a grant towards fifty percent of the cost from their Community Services Fund. The rest of the costs are being raised by the pub and through local fundraising.

Mark commented: “We have quite a large car park at the Coach and Horses and Jo was inspired by the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ‘Landshare’ project*. We translated that into our own initiative that would inspire our younger residents to grow their own fruit and veg and learn to cook it as well. As a result it has strengthened our relationships with local groups and brought many new people to the pub.

“So far we have had between twenty to thirty volunteers digging up the ground to get the garden ready – we have even had to arrange for planning permission for change of use. It has been a real labour of love so far but will be worth it when the first crops are harvested.”

Hugh Wilson the regional advisor from Pub is The Hub added: “Mark and Jo’s commitment to this project is a real inspiration – along with the large group of enthusiastic local gardeners – and goes to show that a simple idea can have the potential to make a big impact.”


*Sadly this project came to an end in February 2016 – but not before it provided inspiration for Mark and Jo.