A big step forward at the InterAct Aspire Garden

March 2016

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Last week, the Writtle College student project to create the InterAct charity garden at Moulsham Mill in Chelmsford reached a major milestone, with the excavation and consolidation of the pathways around the garden, the concreting of two slabs for a new shed and greenhouse and the foundations laid for a dry stone wall.

The project, which was launched in August 2015, is for the Chelmsford-based charity InterAct. Scott Downes and Sam Moore, who were part of the College’s ‘Young Gardeners of the Year’ winning team at the Ideal Home Show 2015, along with fellow student Tom Brindle, have designed the garden for InterAct’s Aspire Centre at Moulsham Mill, which is being built in partnership with GRAHAM Construction.

The garden will give young people at the centre a place to socialise, relax, develop their skills and confidence, as well as enabling them to get involved in gardening, which is known to have a therapeutic effect, in a way that will cater for their different abilities.

On 2 March, second year BSc (Hons) Horticulture students, Scott Downes, Tom Brindle, George Laws and Josh Allen (who has recently joined the project team) aided by five members of the building team from the Chelmer Village viaduct project, completed the excavation and consolidation of the pathways around the garden, the concreting of two slabs for a new shed and greenhouse and the foundations for a dry stone wall, which will be formed from the recycled kerb stones from the old viaduct.

Scott Downes, the Team Leader for the project, commented: “What we have achieved today was at the very top end of my expectations and couldn’t have been achieved without the support of the staff from GRAHAM Construction. Their expertise (and use of one of their diggers) really helped us hit this important milestone in the project. Special mention must also go to the John Henry Group, who kindly provided the Type 1 and concrete we needed free of charge.”

Susie Nankivell from the InterAct charity commented: “A huge thank you to our amazing gardening team from Writtle College and GRAHAM Construction for battling the elements today, laying the foundations for our shed and greenhouse, building the pathway and clearing masses of undergrowth in the InterAct Aspire Garden. It is really starting to take shape now. We couldn't do it without you!”

Tom Brindle advised: “The next step for the team is to erect the shed and greenhouse, install a new fence, and then prepare for some planting. We are very grateful to Perrywood Nurseries who have offered us plants for the project, which we will be collecting soon. Once the demolition of the old viaduct commences, we can then build the wall which will surround the ‘wildlife garden’ element of the design. We are really keen to see just how good the wall will look and it’s a great way of recycling materials that would otherwise just have been dumped.”

Photo: Writtle Horticulture students Tom Brindle and George Laws with the GRAHAM Construction Team.