In July we reported here how Milford resident and parent of pupils at Milford School, Kate Tuck, had called for volunteers the clear two allotments which have recently been taken over by the school to create a “green space” for the children of the school to use. A great deal has been achieved since then and this is the October update.
A large number of volunteers, mainly parents and pupils of the school but also other Milford residents, have been working hard every Sunday and some weekday evenings on the project.
They faced a daunting task. The two allotments, directly above the Holy Trinity Church on the A6, were massively overgrown, smothered in a layer of ivy 3-4 feet thick, with additional brambles, sycamores and nettles. Slowly as the weeks passed, the undergrowth was cut further and further back revealing a useful garden shed and children’s swing, but also mountains of rubbish. Most of this was removed in September, but further clearance unearthed even more so a second batch was disposed of in October. In both cases this was done on Sundays with the help of Amber Valley Borough Council, the volunteers ferrying the rubbish from the allotments down Church Steps to the A6.
It also became clear that the edge of the green space allotments fall very steeply down to the church, so a fence was built in October by the volunteers along this edge to keep the children safe. Additionally, the only way into the allotments had been rather an awkward scramble over the wall along the side of Church Steps, but during October one of the parents fabricated a very sturdy ladder that that can be swung into place over the wall, making access considerably more easy. A grant from Belper Town Council for £389 was obtained to cover the cost of materials for the ladder and the fence.
Now the fence and steps were in place, the first visit for the school children was organised. On a beautiful Thursday in October, all the year groups attended and the headteacher, Mrs Kinsella, reported that the visit went very well and the children loved it. Milford Primary School staff are now going to gather the children’s ideas, which will guide the volunteer group in how the space should be landscaped. Ideas already discussed are an additional storage shed, a compost toilet and chickens.
Meanwhile Blooming Milford successfully applied to Belper Town Council, on the Green Space project’s behalf, for a grant of £122 for espalier fruit trees (two each of pears, plums and apples) to be placed along the back wall of the site. The trees have been ordered and it is hoped that the children will be involved in their planting and upkeep. In addition, Peak Mortgages and Protection, a Belper based company, have offered £200 worth of plants to the Green Space.
Going forward, with the support of the Amber Valley Community Volunteer Service, The Milford Community Green Space Group is to be formed. As well as providing a green space for the Milford School pupils during schooldays, the aim of the community group is, outside of school hours, to open the Green Space for other community activities – ideas are welcome!