Green-fingered Burnley gardening group helping local wildlife and improving mental health

The Creative Support gardening group.
The Creative Support gardening group.

A Burnley gardening group have taken part in a national scheme to replenish local wildlife havens by reintroducing hedging, having already transformed a patch of lawn into a vegetable garden earlier this year.

With the help of the Woodland Trust, members of the Creative Support gardening group at Sunny bank in Burnley have started planting a traditional hedge using classic trees donated by the trust such as Dogwood, Hawthorne, Roca, and Hazel to encourage wildlife proliferation.

The group used the wood to create a screen across the centre of their plot on one side of which they will grow vegetables while on they other they are hoping to create an orchard of apple, plum, and pear trees. A willow arch in the gap in the hedge is also in the pipeline.

“The side of the flats was all just laid to lawn so last year we started digging some beds and planting veg," said Creative Support’s Keith Bailey, who set up the group to support those with mental health issues who are at risk of social isolation. "The potatoes were a big success and so was the rhubarb. We all had rhubarb crumble and made some for the rest of the tenants.

“It’s good to see where food comes from and get the satisfaction of growing it yourself but I think the most important thing that people have got from the group is friendship," Keith added, with the group running twice weekly sessions. "A lot of them didn’t know each other when they first came, now they’ve made friends and look out for each other.

"It’s good to see them working together.”