The churchyard at Holy Trinity in Heath Town is an important public space in the area and now, thanks to the award of lottery grants, will be getting much better during 2011. Two sections of the seven acre churchyard are being revitalised to provide a new community garden and wildflower meadow.
The community garden, just behind the church, is funded by a grant of almost £50,000 from Community Spaces, which is managed by Groundwork UK on behalf of Big Lottery Fund, and helps community groups to improve green spaces across England. Contractors will clear redundant grave stones and stabilise those remaining. They will lay new paths, planting trees and shrubs and installing seating. The new garden will be used by local schools and be available as a tranquil space for the local community.
The wildflower meadow will be in a much larger area between the almshouses and the old Heath Town baths. It is paid for by a grant of nearly £84,000 awarded by Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme funded from the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme.
Peter Loat Access to Nature Adviser for the West Midlands said: “As a result of this grant people of all ages and backgrounds have been given the opportunity to experience nature first hand and on their doorstep in an area where access to the natural environment is limited.” Over time the meadow will become a haven for birds and mini-beasts – as well as people.
The specific features included in the project were identified through a consultation in 2009. Seating, a wildlife area, a garden or tranquil area, bird and bat boxes and education all came out as local priorities.
Revd David Vestergaard, the Vicar of Holy Trinity, said: "This project has taken years of planning so I am delighted that we now have the funding to enable the work to go ahead. The improvements will make it far more honouring to the memory of those buried here, easier to maintain and more sustainable in the long term, as well as creating a valuable facility for visitors and for the local community."
Commenting on the future use of the improved churchyard Amanda Bevan, Neighbourhood Manager of Heathfield Park Local Neighbourhood Partnership said: “This project will enable local people young and old to enjoy this lovely green space. Children will be able to explore the natural world, learning about plants and all living creatures. The churchyard will be a place for people to walk for health, and to sit and enjoy some peace and quiet. Heathfield Park Local Neighbourhood Partnership will continue to support the project and help publicise the opportunities for local people to use this lovely green space.”
Six local schools, which are part of the Holy Trinity churchyard project group which oversees the project, plan to use it for environmental education. There will be opportunities for volunteers to get involved with tasks such as setting up bird and bat boxes, further tree planting and looking after the site.
See a map of the churchyard showing the meadow and community garden
Our project partners and funders
The group oversees the design of the churchyard improvements and will coordinate use of the completed project by schools and others and oversee plans for future maintenance and sustainability. It comprises representatives from Holy Trinity Church, Groundwork West Midlands, Heathfield Park Neighbourhood Partnership and six local schools.