£950 grant will help Friends of Egmont Street garden blossom

GREEN-FINGERED gardeners who have breathed new life into an area of Mossley will have to put their plans down in black and white after winning a huge handout from a fund.

Now Friends of Egmont Street can really get to work after scooping £950 from the Aviva Community Fund that will enable them to create a new garden.

Of the cash, £250 will be spent on bringing a new noticeboard to the area while another £200 will go on finishing off the fruit and wildlife garden.

But the biggest part of it will go on creating a new memory garden, complete with a rose arch.

Lesley Rigby Arnold is the woman behind the scheme and the latest cash boost and she said: “It’s huge for us, absolutely huge.

“I didn’t think I’d get it and in fact I only applied for it with 15 minutes to go before the deadline!
“But the money will be put to great use. £250 will go towards a new community noticeboard with Mossley Town Team paying the other half for it.

“Another £200 will go to finishing off the fruit and wildlife gardens. When we created them, we had no money at all, so we got a lot of plastic edging, which I want to replace with logs and we’re going to put in a rockery.

“The rest will go towards the creation of a new garden that’s going to be a memory garden. The lady who asked us wanted something doing in memory of her son so she could remember the good times they had when he played football on Egmont Street.”

Having won the money, it is not just a case of it being handed over and them being left to do with it what they want.

Evidence has to be produced to show it is being put towards what they told Aviva, including photographs.

“We’ve already got a form where we have to detail what impact it has had on the community and we have to send them [pictures of our progress,” Lesley added.

“We’ve also got to send copies of receipts for things the money is put towards – we can’t just take the money and run.

“How it is spent has to be explained.”

Getting the award is the latest in a remarkable rise for the Friends of Egmont Street, who only started their work to rejuvenate the area, with the fruit garden being started last January.

And even though it will be home to three gardens and, hopefully, lots more fruit being produced this year, Lesley remembers vividly how it used to look.

She said: “We’ve made immense progress and we didn’t really realise what sort of an impact it would have.

“I was stopped several times at an event recently by people congratulating us and saying it’s fantastic.

“It’s made a massive difference. Before we started, it was weed infested and horrible. Now it’s great what we have now and what it could be like next summer.

“The money will also be spent on making it neat and tidy but this year, we want to get a lot more fruit – we want more strawberries and a damson tree that was bought for us by Tameside Council has already been planted.

“It’s often said the second year after planting is when more fruit starts to grow, so hopefully it’s this year.

“Another thing we want is more signs explaining the fruit, how it grows, when it is ready, when’s the best time to pick it and things like that – make it more educational for people that are going in.”

Winter may have come but that does not stop working taking place, notably turning over the soil for the new garden and even laying down the rocks for the rockery.

And with a bit of luck, the results will be as good, and surprising, as last time – while Lesley has also learned a lesson from the process.

She said: “We’ll dig the soil over and when we did it for the last one, we found that underneath the surface layer the soil was really good, fantastic in fact.

“We already have a lot of stone, so we can start the rockery and get all the preparation work done on the new garden – the weather doesn’t hold us back.

“But I must admit, I maybe should be more organised as if I was one of the first 1,000 people to apply you get an extra £200!

“The moral of the story is be more organised!”

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