With the help of the community volunteers it is now being transformed as a community allotment, a space for the primary school children alongside individual allotment holders. The Pioneers CIC have been successful in gaining external grant funding to plant a new community orchard too which will benefit local residents.
Lisa Dawson at The Pioneer Project CIC, said: “This truly has been a wonderful collaboration with the community of Barne Barton. We need to remind ourselves of the site full of brambles to now having an outdoor classroom, spaces for local people and an exciting new orchard. Thank you to all those that have worked so hard to make it a beautiful place to be. Thank you to LiveWest for helping us prep the site for Winter. The space has been a blessing to so many local people, it has improved mental health and educated many about the natural world.’’
During the past months of lockdown, many people have taken to engaging with nature but for those without access to green spaces, communal garden areas and shared green spaces have been a blessing.
LiveWest staff volunteers stepped in to help in Barne Barton by donning their tools to prune a range of apple trees as well painting the new shed and compost toilet and building a new compost area from woolen pallets.
Justine Cheffers Community Connector at LiveWest, said: ““The green areas at Barne Barton are really important to residents and local primary school children allowing them to socialise outside and enjoy the fresh air improving their sense of wellbeing.”
“LiveWest gives its colleagues up to four days paid volunteering a year. So, this was a great opportunity for some of them to get involved and provide extra support to the Barne Barton community. Last month saw them build the new shed along with additional raised beds renting to lease to local residents.”
“Our customers’ wellbeing is important to us. Caring for all the trees and community allotments is an opportunity for our volunteers to support them as part of our Neighbourhoods in Focus project.”
The Pioneers Project CIC have been working with LiveWest for several years with them leasing the allotment site from LiveWest.
Managing over 38, 000 homes across the region LiveWest is one of the first housing associations in the country to have launched an environmental blueprint with measurable targets.
Central to its energy efficiency drive, LiveWest is targeting that all of its existing homes reach an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) rating of band C and above by 2028 – two years ahead of the proposed government target of 2030.
Melvyn Garrett, Deputy Chief Executive of LiveWest, said: “We place sustainability at the heart of our organisation and we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our activities to create a clean and sustainable future for our customers, employees and our families.
“With local councils declaring climate emergencies across the South West and, as the largest housing provider in this region, we wanted to renew our environmental commitments in order to embed sustainability across the organisation and to assist our local authority partners to achieve the goals outlined in their Climate Action Plans.
“For us, this is about improving the energy efficiency of our homes, either through building new sustainable properties or by refurbishing existing ones.
LiveWest plans to build 6,000 new homes over the next five years and will £2billion into the region over the next 10 years.
The protection and improvement of green spaces across its geography is part of its drive to build thriving communities.
Melvyn added: “We value our green spaces and want to ensure that our customers get the best out of them.
“Covid has really highlighted the importance of local outdoor space. As the weather improves, our green areas become increasingly used and can become a focal point for community activity.”