JONATHAN Reynolds MP believes the success of a Mossley community garden can prove an inspiration to other people to launch their own scheme.
And he suspects the grant awarded to Friends of Egmont Street can be the start of something, not the end.
The Stalybridge and Hyde MP was given a guided tour of the area by Lesley Rigby Arnold, the woman behind the scheme, to show off the progress that has been made.
Their efforts have been recognised by a grant of £950 awarded by insurance giant Aviva’s Community Fund.
And the politician hopes the results of the volunteers’ labours can show others they can make a similar effect.
Mr Reynolds said: “It’s an idyllic spot.
“I’d heard so many good things about it but coming here and seeing particularly the fruit garden they’ve done.
“It’s something really special. I hope people appreciate just how good it is and having heard the story of how it started, what a fantastic advert for local people getting involved and making a real difference in the local community.
“If people aren’t aware of this place, come down and have a look because it really is something special.”
Mr Reynolds and several of the Friends of Egmont Street braved pouring rain to celebrate the achievement and the grant.
And the keen gardener did sample some of the fruits of their labour by tasting some of the fruit jams and chutneys made from the trees and bushes.
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 – work on which has already started.
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, ‘weed infested and horrible.’
Mr Reynolds added: “It’s remarkable, as is the way it snowballed. From sorting out the graffiti to starting off with some herbs then more people coming along, the council donating small stuff like bird boxes and different people coming forward.
“What it produces is something so much bigger than the sum of these parts, there’s the ability then to bid for funds and get more investment into the area – it‘s a tremendous story.
“There are lots of companies with community funds for small amounts of money and we’ve got so much community stuff going on, people should be taking advantage of them.
“Things like this are what people want to support. They want to get involved with good news stories and help push them to the next level.
“This is a great example of that.”