Latest News | 2 July 2024

Eden Project co-founder cuts ribbon on new community garden

Wavensmere Homes
Down to Earth Derby
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Sustainability champion and co-founder of Cornwall’s Eden Project – Sir Tim Smit – has officially launched a new community garden at the £175 million Nightingale Quarter residential scheme.

The £40,000 pilot project is a collaboration between Wavensmere Homes and Down to Earth Derby, which will be rolled out across the housebuilder’s city-wide development portfolio.

Down to Earth Derby, which is behind Derby’s Electric Daisy attraction, is helping to spearhead a nature-led regeneration of the city.

Working with the Down to Earth Derby team, the community garden has been planned, landscaped and planted by residents living at the 18.5-acre development, which has been created on the site of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.

Sir Tim, who is a mentor to Down to Earth Derby, said: “Derby is becoming an outstanding symbol of regeneration, famous across Europe.

“As the community garden was not a planning obligation, we are very grateful to Wavensmere Homes for the investment, commitment and shared vision.”

James Dickens, managing director at Wavensmere Homes, said: “It’s inspiring to work with the Down to Earth team – and we are grateful to Sir Tim for officially opening this pioneering garden, which will lead to further projects.”

Jamie Quince-Starkey, founder of Down to Earth Derby, said: “James and the Wavensmere team understand the importance of purposeful living and the wellness benefits of inspiring people to be active and engaged with nature and gardening.

“This community garden has become a living test bed, demonstrating how regular allotment meet-ups can be the catalyst to bringing a new community together, while also having a transformative impact on mental health.”

The final phases of the 925 houses and apartments that make up Nightingale Quarter are currently under construction, with more than 1,000 residents already living at the scheme.

Now, it will also be a magnet for nature and wildlife, with the interactive garden and allotment space being enjoyed and maintained by locals of all ages, including groups of school children from nearby St James’ C of E Junior School.

The community garden features a food forest, woodland zone, clean composting area, raised planting beds, bug hotels and bird houses.

Sir Tim: “Down to Earth launched Electric Daisy 12 months ago and has received fantastic support from local people, businesses and organisations.

“The team has also undertaken a number of projects to introduce interactive nature beds and green spaces to inner city schools. And now this first collaboration with a housebuilder has opened.

“The nature-based regeneration that’s been achieved across Derby during the past 12 months shows the potential, together with the public support and appetite for more vibrant urban spaces.

“Collaborative nature projects like this bring people together to learn about flora and fauna, and the joy that comes with growing seasonal fruit and vegetables.

“I am encouraging all those involved to see that the success of this pilot may ignite a national appetite for funded community gardens.”

Jamie added: “My mum worked at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, so to have the opportunity to create this special outdoor space at the Nightingale Quarter development has filled me with pride.”

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