Appointed late last year, Chester’s “Postcode Gardener” Charlotte Haughton has been working with volunteers across the community to make Chester “10 times greener”. An initiative by Friends of the Earth, our Postcode Gardener is only the third in the UK and the only one in the North.
“The idea of the 10 x Greener project is to make where people live ten times greener than it was at the start ” says Friends of the Earth volunteer Helen Tandy. ” It’s about visible spaces not people’s back gardens. In Newtown for example, there were lots of areas near terraced houses which were overgrown or neglected. We look at bringing pollenated or edible plants into an area. What’s been proven is that if an area looks nicer and greener people are less likely to litter and fly tip. When we spoke to the residents in Newtown that had been a huge problem and they have noticed it has reduced. The residential area was quite “concrete” and now lots of residents have got hanging baskets and pots at the front of their houses. The community has come together through this project and created a neighbourhood that communicates better with each other. ”
Gardener Charlotte , who began the role in October 2020 after a period of crowdfunding enabled her part time role spoke about the numerous projects she has worked on in Newtown, Blacon, the Garden Quarter and beyond:
- “I received donations of plant pots that were then filled with bulbs and plants and placed around CH1 areas, mainly in Newtown and Garden Quarter alleyways.
- ” I have taken part in monthly and solo litter picks. In January 2021, I completed a litter pick every day to highlight the litter issue in Chester. This was a huge success as whilst I was out litter picking I had several members of the community ask me about the project and I was able to inform them of my Postcode Gardener role.
- “Newtown has been a huge area that I have focused on in my role. I have helped to clear six council planters that were left overgrown and unloved, and they are now all planted up with beautiful flowers. I have worked hard to help to try and clear up the alleyways here also, by placing plant pots out along the ones that attract fly tipping. There are two community planters that I have filled with herbs and vegetables for the community to take and use.
- “I have partnered with Café 71, The Spider Project, a local organisation that works hard to help individuals with mental health concerns. We now have a successful gardening club that takes place weekly. Our most recent project is converting a space opposite their building into a community garden, and we are hopefully partnering with Sanctuary on this. I also made connections with ISG, the building contractors which worked on the local fire station, and they were kind enough to donate lots of tools that the Spider Project now use.
- “I have worked over in Water Tower Gardens, arranging community days where volunteers help towards tidying the Friends of the Earth bed. We are now hoping to partner with Vivo Care, who are currently based over there, and hope to have a gardening club start up soon.
- “I have helped the residents of Denbigh Street and Gladstone Avenue clear up and transform their disused alleyways. The residents of Denbigh Street also got a grant from the councillor’s budget, so I helped them put up hanging baskets along the street. ” Charlotte has also donated plants to several small businesses in the Garden quarter and planted around the street signs in the area.
- “I have recently begun a partnership with the gardening team at the University of Chester. They have kindly provided plants that I have been able to plant out in the community and they have agreed to give us use of one of the greenhouses.
- “I have been working with volunteers from Blacon helping to clear a disused community garden that had been left over the pandemic. There is now a regular group who meet weekly to focus on keeping that garden tidy and the raised beds are now full of vegetables and flowers for the community to take away. We are hoping to host a blackberry picking event as the garden is full of them.
- “In March 2021 I started working on Forest Fun – in collaboration with the Countess of Chester, I help to run weekly sessions of ‘forest fun’, working with families from Blacon with children aged 2-3 and help them to enjoy the outdoors. My contribution mainly focuses on gardening that the children can do at home, or things they can take away with them. It’s been a huge success, with funding being allocated in both Blacon Nature Park and down in London
“We want people to know about the project and get in touch if they need help.” says Helen. “Because Charlotte only works a day a week, we can’t go everywhere, but what we have often tried to do, is she will go in and give the area some ideas and tips and they are able to go and do the work themselves. I am sure there are residents that have no idea about the 10 X greener project and what’s going on across Chester! We want to keep this project going and expand our profile in the community”.
To get in touch with the Gardener email CH110xgreener@hotmail.com or on instagram : postcodegardenerch1
Afternoon Tea at the Hope Garden , URC Church, Saughall road Blacon takes place on the 18th September (2 til 4). there will be tea/cake, a raffle and plants and seeds for sale.