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Community Garden graduates look back to their roots

A south Sefton project which has been helping local volunteers to learn horticultural skills held a special event recently to celebrate the success of its graduates.

Regenerus, Bootle-based organisers of the Taking Root Project, hosted a picnic lunch and presentation ceremony at a community garden at Marian Way in Netherton to salute the achievements of the 26 participants aged from ten to 66.

The project was established by the regeneration specialists with the help of an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Since December last year it has been working with local groups at Marian Way, Netherton Park Neighbourhood Centre and the Gateway Collective in North Park, Bootle.

Taking Root Co-ordinator Christine Leung has supported volunteers with designing and setting up their community gardens, and also delivered training to help participants learn how to grow fruit and vegetables.

Working with partners the Feelgood Factory in Netherton, the Taking Root Project has also developed a new learning module – accredited through Open Awards – which has been specially designed to reflect the range of skills that participants can gain through gardening.

According to Christine Leung, the feedback from everyone who has been involved in Taking Root has been positive:

“As well as getting active and making new friends, our participants say that helping to establish new community gardens has given them real personal satisfaction.

“The project has also given everyone the opportunity to grow and eat their own food, and to gain a qualification recognising the skills they’ve acquired, which they’re obviously delighted about.”

Ruth Livesey of Regenerus added:

“A project like this one is about so much more than simply learning gardening skills.

“It’s also about upgrading the local environment, connecting people in local communities, boosting confidence and improving the general health and wellbeing of everyone who takes part.

“We’re very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for their support, and to the participants for the commitment and enthusiasm they’ve shown throughout the programme.  They should all be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Bootle Town Hall Heritage Complex Centre

Sefton Council is exploring opportunities to create a cultural and heritage facility within Bootle Town Hall complex of Grade II listed buildings.

 In October 2016, Sefton Council published the Bootle Town Centre Investment Framework – a high level strategic document which looked to harness Bootle’s current assets and help reshape the town into a desirable residential, educational and business location.

 Feedback gained from the Investment Framework highlighted Bootle Town Hall as a great regeneration opportunity with the desire for increased cultural activity a key theme.

 Now a consultation and engagement exercise is set to start, looking at the potential to create a new cultural and heritage facility in the former Bootle Free Library and Museum within the town hall complex. Other civic functions within the town hall would still be maintained. 

 The consultation will run from October-December and a pop-up heritage centre looking potential options will also be in the Strand Shopping Centre during the school October half-term.

 Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “By transforming this historic building into a new home of arts and culture in the town, we believe this would be a major statement of the Council’s ambition for Bootle.

 “Potentially this refreshed physical space will be supported by a learning and skills infrastructure, reaching out to the local community and developing materials that can be used in local schools, adult education centres and beyond.

 “We believe this project will help ensure the town hall remains the civic focus of Bootle and also deliver a new cultural offer that will be sustainable and manageable over the long term.

 “At the moment we are only exploring opportunities and want to gauge what local people think about this. Please take the time to look at the consultation and get involved and help shape the future of this wonderful grade II listed building.”

The consultation will go live later this month via 

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