New outdoor community spaces with planters created for Northampton residents without private gardens

Residents have already planted flowers, herbs and vegetables

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:59 am

New communal garden spaces have been created in a Northampton neighbourhood where residents can grow food and spend time outside.

Housing provider, Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH), created the spaces in St James for residents of Abbey, Melbourne and Devonshire House.

The installation of the raised planter beds was made possible through funding from PCSO Andrew Emberton from Northamptonshire Police and the Office of the Fire, Police and Crime Commissioner (OFPCC).

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Rob Wheeler with NPH resident Jakii and children Pandora-Ellie and Arya-Ronnie.

Tenants were invited to an event where they could claim their free plot in their communal gardens and have already planted flowers, herbs such as basil and chives, and vegetables such as spinach, onions and lettuce leaves which will bloom in the coming weeks and months.

Jakii, a local resident said: “I signed up for a raised bed as my two young girls, Pandora-Ellie and Arya-Ronnie, both love being outside, and growing their own flowers.

“So far, we’ve planted wildflowers and poppies to attract bees and butterflies, and herbs and onions for us to eat.

“We’re planning to plant tomatoes and carrots next.

Rob Wheeler, PCSO Andrew Emberton and Anna Thorpe.

“The girls are very excited to see how everything grows.”

The funding for this project came from the OFPCC grants fund.

Local businesses also got involved to donate soil, give discounts on hand tools and seeds to get residents set up with everything they needed to get growing.

Members of the NPH estates team also volunteered their own time to build the planters and fill them with soil, ready for residents to start planting their seeds.

Rob Wheeler, housing officer for the area at NPH said: “We want to say a big thank you to the OFPCC for the funding to get this communal garden started, and to the local PCSO for helping us apply for this.

“The residents living in these blocks don’t have access to private gardens, and we know how important getting outdoors and into nature is for mental health and wellbeing.

“We’re looking forward to seeing some really positive community spirit as the residents manage and maintain the gardens and get to know each other.

“We can’t wait to see how they get on.”

Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner added: “Using communal spaces to create something which residents can be proud of is a great idea as it builds pride and ownership, leading to a greater sense of belonging and reduced anti-social behaviour.“The planters being set up in St James will help bring residents together and foster a sense of community, which I am pleased to support.

“Community Grants are available for initiatives that improve the quality of life for residents and increase community involvement.

“It is through these initiatives that we can build community cohesion and connectivity that ultimately supports my drive to make communities safer.”

More raised planter beds are available to residents living in Abbey, Devonshire or Melbourne House.

Those who would like to sign up for their plot should speak to their housing officer or call NPH’ resident involvement team on 0300 330 7003.