Volunteers help make church and community garden a reality

First published on: 26th May 2023

A new wildlife garden at St George’s Church, Sevenoaks Weald has come to fruition thanks to the energy and vision of volunteers from across the church and wider community.

Opened on the Coronation weekend, The King’s Garden, not only relates to King Charles lll, but aims to showcase God’s creation too.

The idea came about when the village pre-school, which had been using the church hall, closed meaning the outside play area became free, as the Rev Mandy Carr, Vicar, explains:

“We have joined the A Rocha Eco Church scheme and so were looking for ways we could steward our churchyard and just go greener. Now, with the help of volunteers, we’ve been able to do just that by redesigning and repurposing this area of church land.”

The new community area is open to all residents and visitors so that they can come and enjoy the wildlife in the garden. A small volunteer design team from across the village met to discuss plans, with ideas including bird baths, bug hotels, and a small wildlife pond, plus various planting options.

Thanks to a small community grant of £1000 from the Better Together Community Mobilisation Fund from Sevenoaks District Council, it was possible to buy extra seating and some additional shrubs, with some funds remaining to support ideas as the garden develops.

“Our village really thrives on its volunteers,” says Mandy, ‘from putting on events and running the village shop, to taking on roles and activities in the church, as well as among other groups.” 

She continued:

“We therefore used the opening of the garden as an opportunity to thank all volunteers, past and present, for their time and energy, and for all the ways in which community spirit is fostered in Weald.”  

Karen Elsom, a volunteer who runs the community shop, opened the garden, and was honoured with ‘three cheers for Karen’, for her commitment to the local community.

And it’s clear that the volunteering spirit is set to continue in Weald, with people already signed up to join an Autumn bulb planting team.

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